What can happen and what should we do if my father is the registered owner of a car that was in an accident and was being driven by a driver who did not have a license?

My father is the owner of a vehicle that was involved in an accident. A girl without a license was driving it and had a fender bender. The person who was hit is trying to sue and I’m wondering what my dad can do. He was not operating the vehicle nor was he even there when it happened. He is just the owner of the car and insurance.

Asked on July 22, 2015 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your father allowed the girl to drive, then if the girl was at fault (e.g. driving negligently or carelessly) in causing the accident, your father would be liable, too: the owner of a vehicle is liable for the actions of those he permits to drive his car.

If she did not have permission to drive, your father should  not be liable--but not having permission to drive means she stole it, which means your father would need to press charges against her for theft and credibly show that she did steal it.

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