Am I at fault for a traffic accident when I sold the car prior to the accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I at fault for a traffic accident when I sold the car prior to the accident?

I sold my car in Brooklyn to a young man. I signed and handed him the title and
he paid me in cash. He put his own license plates on the car and drove away.
While driving he got into an accident in Westchester county and ran from the seen
of the accident. 2 weeks later I get a call from a car insurance company
representative saying I hit their client’s car and ran from the seen. She
requested that I proof that I wasn’t driving and to supply her with my
information. The only proof I have is that at the time of the accident is that I
was at work. I don’t have a bill of sale or the young man contact info – since he
knock on my door and asked about the car. I don’t know what my options are or if
I should supply the insurance company my info. Please help.. Thank you in

Asked on November 28, 2017 under Accident Law, New York


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Although you handed the buyer of your car the title, since the transfer of title had not been registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles when the accident occurred, you were still the registered owner and therefore liable for the accident.
However, you should refute that by providing a declaration signed under penalty of perjury that you had sold the car and handed the buyer the title prior to the accident.  You can prove you were at work when the accident occurred by having your employer and co-workers sign declarations under penalty of perjury stating that.  Provide those declarations and your declaration to the victim's insurance company.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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