If a car has been sold but title was not legally transferred, what happens I the event it is involved in an accident?

UPDATED: Jan 15, 2015

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If a car has been sold but title was not legally transferred, what happens I the event it is involved in an accident?

About 6 months ago I made the final payment to a friend for a vehicle I was buying. However I didn’t get it replated because I did not have the money, so technically ownership was still in her name. I then went one more idiotic step further, and since I couldn’t drive, I rented it out to a guy for $75 a month and he promised he would insure it. We’ll apparently he didn’t insure it. He got in am accident am d did $1,500 worth of damage to the vehicle he struck. The police told him the girl who sold it to me was the owner and gave them her contact information. She is obviously furious with me for not transferring the title and worried about her legal liability here. Who can be sued here – her, me or the driver?

Asked on January 15, 2015 under Accident Law, Illinois


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The registered owner of the vehicle (the person from whom you purchased the car) is liable for the accident since title was not tranferred to you.  

Although she is liable, she, you and the person who rented your car will all be named as defendants in the lawsuit for negligence filed by the party who was not at fault in the accident.

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