Am I liable if someone who I didn’t give permission to drive my car, got into an accident?

I had given the car to my ex 8 years ago. Since then she somehow got insurance on the car without me even knowing. Now, her sister decided to take the car and get into an accident and now we are all being sued. Main facts here are that A. The car was still registered under my name but I had no insurance on it but my ex was able to insure it somehow. B. My ex’s sister did not have permission to drive the car.

Asked on December 11, 2018 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, as the registered owner of the vehicle you are liable for the accident caused by your sister-in-law. Your liability includes the property damage (cost of repairs) to the vehicle not at fault in the accident and the personal injury claims of all the occupants of that vehicle. The personal injury claims will include medical bills, pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and wage loss. 
If the lawsuit results in a monetary judgment against you which you can't afford to pay, at that time it would be advisable to file bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straight liquidation which will eliminate that debt.


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