Can I be sued for my daughter's car accident?

by Susana
(Bakersfield, CA)

My daughter was involved in a car accident. She didn't have her license and the car was under my name. She was 21 at the time and she is now 24. She has no source of income so the other party is suing me for $30,000.

I was not present when this happened so how can I be liable? How can they sue me for what my daughter did just because she has no money?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I be sued for my daughter's car accident?":

Susana (Bakersfield):

Regrettably, the law in California, as in most states, permits the victim of a vehicular collision to file a claim against the driver, the owner, or both.

It may not be a matter of fairness, but of economics.

You mentioned you were being sued and your daughter wasn’t. If you or your daughter was insured at the time of the collision neither of you should be sued. The victim’s claim will effectively be against your insurance, and not you or your daughter personally.

Depending on the seriousness of injuries there is a very good chance neither you nor your daughter will have much more involvement in the claim. About the most you both will have to do is give your statement to an insurance company Claims Adjuster. The rest will be handled by your insurance company.

If the victim’s injuries were in excess of your policy limits there is a possibility you and your daughter may be sued personally. That’s not usually the case though. Normally the most a victim will seek lies in the insurance policy limits.

Before you start worrying about being sued, the other driver must prove your daughter was exclusively liable for the collision.

Your insurance company won’t just simply agree to pay. They don’t like giving away their money any more than you would. They will fight the case if they don’t believe your daughter was liable.

Your insurance company will look to see if the other driver contributed to the collision. If so, your daughter’s liability, if any, will be diminished by the other driver’s percentage of liability.

If you are sued, and you have insurance, you won’t have to worry about hiring an attorney. When you pay your insurance premiums each month you are also paying for protection against lawsuits. That protection includes providing attorneys for you for free.

If in the unfortunate event you weren’t insured at the time of the collision, and the driver sues you and wins, you can always consider the protection under the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Code.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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