Am I liable?

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Am I liable?

I own a car and have it insured with myself and two other people as drivers. I allow these two other people to drive it. They do not have driver licenses. If they have an accident which is their fault, can I be sued? My husband does not know about any of this. He is on the policy due to some kind of law, I guess. But, I don’t want us to lose our home or our retirement plan/money. So, is that a possibility? I live in Texas and so do the other drivers.

Asked on February 5, 2018 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If those other drivers are at fault in an accident, you are liable because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.  Your insurance company might deny the claim from the party not at fault in the accident because your drivers are unlicensed.
If your insurance company denies the claim, you are liable for the property damage to the vehicle not at fault in the accident and the personal injury claims of all occupants of that vehicle.
The personal injury claims will include compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and compensation for wage loss.
You will be sued for negligence if your insurance company denies the claim because your drivers were unlicensed.  
If there is a court judgment against you from an auto accident in which your unlicensed drivers are at fault, and you can't afford to pay the judgment, you can file bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straight liquidation  which will eliminate that debt.  There are exemptions which may protect your home and other assets when you file Chapter 7.
 


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