If a car is driven by one person but someone else has co-signed the auto lease, who bears responsibility if there is an accident?

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If a car is driven by one person but someone else has co-signed the auto lease, who bears responsibility if there is an accident?

A friend co-signed so I could lease a car since I have bad credit. It is insured. He will never drive the car as he is cripple and I drive him places. He is afraid that if I get in an accident, that somehow some one might come after him and take his meager retirement. Is that possible?

Asked on February 14, 2014 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you are at fault in an accident and the case is NOT settled with your insurance carrier, you and your friend could be sued.  If the party who was not at fault in the accident, gets a judgment against you and your friend, you and your friend could file  bankruptcy.  Your friend's pension will be protected if he files bankruptcy in that situation.

Most auto accident cases are settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier without any lawsuit being filed.

If you are in an accident and are NOT at fault, then you and your friend have nothing to be concerned about because your claim for property damage and personal injury will be filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier.  If that case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, you can sue the at-fault party/registered owner of that vehicle for negligence.


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