What can happen if I had a minor accident and exchanged insurance information but the other driver’s insurance was not valid?

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What can happen if I had a minor accident and exchanged insurance information but the other driver’s insurance was not valid?

It was in a car loaned by a friend that swore she had insurance. The insurer for the other driver contacted the owner of the vehicle to let her know her insurance had expired. They are threatening to sue me and suspend my license for a year because I did not call her insurance company and check if it was valid. Is it my responsibility to go through the glove compartment of a friend’s car and check on her insurance? Can I lose my license over this? Is she not ultimately responsible since she failed to have insurance? No police report was filed.

Asked on June 19, 2014 under Accident Law, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is not your responsibility to search your friend's glove compartment to verify her auto insurance or to call her insurance company to verify her insurance.

If you were at fault in the accident, the registered owner of the vehicle you were driving is liable.  Since the registered owner was uninsured, she can be sued by the other party who was not at fault in the accident.  You will also be named as a defendant in that lawsuit because you were the driver of the car that was at fault in the accident. You would not be sued because you did not search the glove compartment and verify insurance but because you were driving without insurance.  In some states, driving without insurance can result in suspension of a driver's license. The registered owner of the vehicle is the person who is primarily liable.  She will be liable for paying for the cost of repairs to the other car.  She could sue you to recover the amount she pays since you were the driver of her car.  She could also sue you for the cost of repairs to her car.


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