Am I liable for anything that happens with a car that I surrendered in bankruptcy but that was never picked and that someone is now driving?

The lienholder never picked the car up. I have not registered it or insured it since the bankruptcy earlier this year. A friend needed a vehicle so she is driving it now and taking the risk of getting caught without registration and insurance. Am I liable in any way should something happen to her or the car?

Asked on August 19, 2011 Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You really the need to get the car back.  You have potential liability in a couple of ways.  The first involves the car itself.  If your name is still on the title, plaintiffs will look to you because you are the one that authorized an uninsured motorist to drive the car.  You handed over the keys which can at least make you a party to a personal injury suit.  You may not be 100 percent liable, but you do have some exposure.  Your second area of liability is to the bankruptcy court.  If you handed the car over to an uninsured driver, and the car is eventually totaled in a wreck, the bankruptcy court could take action against you for converting (or giving away) property that wasn't yours.  The creditor or the trustee could drag you back into court in front of a very angry bankruptcy judge.  You should get the car back from your friend and start calling the people involved in your bankruptcy:  your bankruptcy attorney, the trustee, or the creditor who was awarded the car, and let them know to come and get it.  As far as liability to your friend if she is injured-- you have fewer liability issues, especially if she knew the car was unregistered and uninsured because she assumed the risk.

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