Can I be held jointly liable for spouse’s car accident if we are legally separated but kept ourselves as insured on each other’s vehicle?

UPDATED: Dec 15, 2011

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Can I be held jointly liable for spouse’s car accident if we are legally separated but kept ourselves as insured on each other’s vehicle?

My husband and I separated 2 weeks ago. We had already paid our car insurance through the next 5 months on our vehicles (1 is titled in my name only; the other is titled in both our names and has a loan on it which he is required to pay per the separation agreement I am drafting). Am I at risk for being sued if my husband is at fault for a car accident he has in his vehicle? Can I add a clause to the separation agreement to remove my liability for anything he is found at fault for if we keep the car insurance policy in both our names for both vehicles?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Family Law, North Carolina


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The separation agreement may not be enforceable without a court order. You will be most likely sued in any car accident in which you are named as insureds together (it makes no difference if the car is titled in your name or his name only). The plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel will sue anyone and everyone tied to this event by fault or ownership or responsibility. So you will see a lawsuit wherein the plaintiff will sue the driver, the driver's insurance company, the motor vehicle owner and co-owner, the insurance company for all of the above and sometimes the co-signer on the loan. Most of the time these are all one and the same but in your situation if your husband is sued for an accident in a car in which you are also named as the person insured on that vehicle, you can run a very likely risk of being sued. If you attempt to add a clause to your separation agreement, keep in mind that such a clause (indemnification clause) may not be legal since you agreed to be on the insurance and again it needs to go through court order for legal enforcability.

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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