What to do if I’m being sued for $5000 due to an accident that I was not involved in but because I was still listed as the registered owner even though I’d already sold the car?

I sold the car about 9 months ago and the accident was about 6 months ago. I didn’t send my paper to the DMV saying I was no longer responsible but I feel it is still not my problem. I have proof from my insurance company that I removed the car when I sold it. Can I get out of this lawsuit?

Asked on July 31, 2014 under Accident Law, California


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You will need to provide the plaintiff (party suing you) or plaintiff's attorney  with evidence that you were not the owner of the car when the accident occurred. 

The fact that you had discontinued the insurance on the car may not be sufficient because people may cancel insurance while they still own a car.

If you have documents showing that the car was sold and the date of the sale, even though the documents weren't filed with the DMV, that plus a declaration from you signed under penalty of perjury stating that you had sold the car on  ___ (date) may provide evidence that you were not the owner on the date of the accident.  You could also obtain a declaration signed under penalty of perjury from the buyer that the car was sold to the buyer on ________ (date).  If the buyer paid by check and you or your bank have the cancelled check, that would also provide evidence of when you had sold the car. 

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