What can I do if I’m being sued for an accident that I had nothing to do with?

I sold my car to my brother-in-law and we made a deal that I would change the car into his name as soon as he was done paying me. However, his brother used the car and got into an accident. Now the other person who was hit is demanding that I pay $5,000. This accident happened 6 months ago and I was not told until now. I’m not insured and also the person that was driving the car at the time of the accident was not insured. I have now been sent to collections and am being threatened with legal action and suspension of my license. How can I resolve this matter without paying for an accident that I was never involved in? Can I transfer this claim to the person who was involved in the accident?

Asked on October 1, 2015 under Accident Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you are liable for the accident because you are the registered owner of the vehicle since title was not transferred to your brother-in-law.
You can sue your brother-in-law and his brother the driver to recover the amount of a judgment against you.  
You would file one lawsuit naming both your brother-in-law and his brother as defendants.  The cause of action claim in your lawsuit against your brother-in-law would be negligent entrustment for letting his brother drive the car.  The cause of action claim in your lawsuit against the brother would be negligence for causing the accident.

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