What is my liability if I have a car which is registered to me for financial reasons but is really my son’s and the insurance is in his name?

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What is my liability if I have a car which is registered to me for financial reasons but is really my son’s and the insurance is in his name?

He let a friend drive and they hit a car, kept on going and stupidly reported car stolen as he was scared. His insurance was in effect but of course they denied to fix his car after it came out that he lied but they are refusing claim for other vehicle as well, now they want me as registered owner to pay over $9,000.

Asked on October 15, 2011 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, as the registered owner of the vehicle, you are liable for an accident caused by the driver of the vehicle.  You could sue your son's friend, who was driving the vehicle, but if he is just a kid without any money that probably won't accomplish much.  Since your son's insurance company denied the claim for the other vehicle, the owner of that vehicle could file a lawsuit against you as the registered owner of the vehicle that caused the accident.  Your son's friend could be facing criminal charges for hit and run.


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