Am I liable if someone who I didn’t give permission to drive my car, got into an accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I liable if someone who I didn’t give permission to drive my car, got into an accident?

I had given the car to my ex 8 years ago. Since then she somehow got insurance on the car without me even knowing. Now, her sister decided to take the car and get into an accident and now we are all being sued. Main facts here are that A. The car was still registered under my name but I had no insurance on it but my ex was able to insure it somehow. B. My ex’s sister did not have permission to drive the car.

Asked on December 11, 2018 under Accident Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, as the registered owner of the vehicle you are liable for the accident caused by your sister-in-law. Your liability includes the property damage (cost of repairs) to the vehicle not at fault in the accident and the personal injury claims of all the occupants of that vehicle. The personal injury claims will include medical bills, pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills, and wage loss. 
If the lawsuit results in a monetary judgment against you which you can't afford to pay, at that time it would be advisable to file bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straight liquidation which will eliminate that debt.

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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