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The Surprising Liability of Carpooling: What Parents Should Know

By: Anapol Weiss

Arranging a carpool to get the kids to and from school and activities can be a huge timesaver for parents, not to mention the environmental benefits. Before agreeing to transport other people’s children, however, it’s extremely important to take a look at your car insurance to ensure your family is protected. Click here for more crash statistics and to speak to our expert Philadelphia car crash attorneys at Anapol Weiss.

Drivers can be sued for acting negligently on the road and causing an injury to another person – and that includes parents driving a carpool. As in any car accident case, if the driver was negligent and in turn caused an injury to a passenger, he or she would be liable for any damages caused. Carpool drivers should consider getting significant liability coverage – $500,000 or more – to cover the expenses of any passengers injured in the event of an accident.

Auto insurance policies are either split-limit or single-limit. For example, a split-limit could be $100,000-$300,000, which offers $100,000 coverage as a maximum amount per-person in an accident with a limit of $300,000 total paid per accident – even if there are 10 injured people making claims. A driver with a single-limit policy has a set amount of coverage per accident regardless of how many people were injured, and there is no per-person maximum.

For parents of a child riding with another student or parent to work, it’s important to have very good underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on their own policy. UIM coverage could protect the child should he or she get injured by a carpooling driver who was not properly insured. An example would be a child with an injury claim worth $500,000 who could only recover the $15,000 liability policy from the at-fault driver. That child’s parents could then make a claim to any applicable UIM policy for further compensation. If the only applicable policy was the parents’ $100,000 UIM policy, that child would receive $100,000 in additional coverage. If the injured child’s parents purchased “stacking” for the UIM amounts and had three cars in the household, for example, they would have $300,000 of coverage ($100,000 per car, times three cars) for that child and he or she would receive a total settlement of $315,000.

A carpooling accident can quickly become a complex legal situation. It is for that reason that carpooling parents should always carry adequate liability to protect them from personal loss in the event of an automobile accident.