Can a cosigner of a lease be held liable in an accident?

Parent cosigner, adult child of cosigner is the leasee. No history of drugs, or any trust related issues.

Asked on August 10, 2015 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the cosignor of a lease can be liable, because to be a cosignor of a lease is to be a lessee that is, a cosignor is as much a lessee as the "main" signor, even if the cosignor in practice never drives or uses the car. Being a lessee, the cosignor can be liable for an accident the same way an owner or coowner of a car can be liable, even if some other person always used the car and was driving at the time of the accident. It would be different if instead of being a cosignor, you only guaranteed the signor's obligations under the lease a guarantor does not him/herself lease the vehicle, but is only obligated to pay the lease if the lessee does not.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the cosignor of a lease can be liable, because to be a cosignor of a lease is to be a lessee that is, a cosignor is as much a lessee as the "main" signor, even if the cosignor in practice never drives or uses the car. Being a lessee, the cosignor can be liable for an accident the same way an owner or coowner of a car can be liable, even if some other person always used the car and was driving at the time of the accident. It would be different if instead of being a cosignor, you only guaranteed the signor's obligations under the lease a guarantor does not him/herself lease the vehicle, but is only obligated to pay the lease if the lessee does not.


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