If the driver that rear-ended me does not own the car so the car’s insurance will not cover the driver, who do I sue – the driver of the car or the owner?

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If the driver that rear-ended me does not own the car so the car’s insurance will not cover the driver, who do I sue – the driver of the car or the owner?

Asked on June 25, 2015 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You sue them both. The at-fault driver--and the rear driver in a rear-end collision is almost always at fault (he/she was expected to maintain a safe following distance and pay attention, so as to brake in time)--can be liable for your damage; and the vehicle owner who allowed the at-fault driver to use his/her car can also be liable, since car owners are responsible for the actions of those they permit to drive their cars. (If the driver stole the car, however, the owner would not be liable.) You sue them both, to maximize the chance of recovering something; let them fight it out among themselves, who owes how much.


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