What can I do if I allowed my ex girlfriend to have my name added to her truck title several years ago but she never took it off when we broke up and then had an accident?

I recently went to the dmv for a copy of my driving record and discovered that she had some sort of accident with the truck resulting in major dollar damage to someone else’s property. She told me my name was taken off of the title years ago but now I’m being held responsible for her actions, as I was listed as part-owner of the vehicle. I haven’t seen her in years. Now I’m getting collection notices as well.

Asked on February 2, 2016 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were on the title, you were an owner, and so would be liable for all damage your girlfriend did driving it and all costs she caused others. Even if she had told you that she was taking your name off, that doesn't matter, from the perspective of what you would owe others, if your name was not in fact taken off--because you remained a legal owner. So legally, they can get the money from you.
You can sue you ex-girlfriend for anything you have to pay or costs you incur. Of course, you would need to find her, first--and then she'd need to have income or assets to pay you. This is why, in the future, *never* put your name on the title of any vehicle than that a spouse's or your own vehicle.

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