Visitor Question

Liability in Collision with Unregistered Car?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I was driving an unregistered car and another vehicle crashed into me. My car was totaled. I’m wondering if the at-fault driver of the other vehicle is still liable for the damages to my car, even though it was unregistered? Thanks.

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 Anonymous,

Yes she is. As long as you can prove ownership of your car, and the other driver admits liability, there is no legal reason you shouldn’t be reimbursed for your damages.

To prove ownership all you will need is a Bill of Sale. Legal registration is not a requirement to prove ownership. Registering a car is a State matter separate from a private matter between two individuals.

If the at-fault driver attempts to use the issue of the registration as a reason not to pay, she is bluffing. You are not at any legal disadvantage in a claim against the at-fault driver.

You didn’t mention the state in which the collision occurred. Check the Small Claims Court in your district of county. If the amount of damages is less than the Court’s jurisdictional limits (the maximum amount one can sue for in Small Claims Court) you can file a claim against the driver.

A lawsuit in Small Claims Court has the same effect as if you had filed suit in the State Supreme Court. The differences are only the amounts and the people.

Lawyers normally don’t practice in Small Claims Court. These Courts are really reserved for everyday, hard working people who can’t afford, or don’t want to hire an Attorney to file a lawsuit.

Once you file your suit the Sheriff or Constable will serve the lawsuit on the at-fault driver. She will be ordered to appear in court for trial. If she fails to appear you will receive a default judgment against her.

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: August 16, 2011

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