Visitor Question

What is the liability if the car owner was not the driver?

Submitted By: Marty (New Haven, CT, USA)

It was a rear-end car accident. The driver of the other car was at fault but didn’t have insurance.

The owner of the other car however, does have insurance but the carrier is denying the claim based on the theory of non-permission.

My question is, in Connecticut, if the owner did not report the car stolen, would this situation be considered “implied” permission?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Marty,

Well, this sounds like a fairly large loop-hole, doesn’t it? Anyone can say “well, they didn’t have my permission” to avoid liability. I believe your analysis is not only clever, but legally accurate.

In order to prove that you did not consent, you would have to take some affirmative action, i.e. reporting the car stolen. Absent affirmative conduct, it would certainly be implied that the owner DID, in fact consent to the use of his vehicle and liability should be attached.

Be advised that the insurance adjuster is really not there to help you — Many times, they will either deny liability or give you the impression they are not liable because this tactic eliminates a certain number of claims annually saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Simply put, don’t take “no” for an answer. Stand your ground and if they continue to deny, file a lawsuit claiming Negligent Entrustment as one of your causes of action.

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

Best of luck,

Published: October 14, 2010

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