If I left a car over 6 years ago with someone and it was in a accident 2 years ago but now I’m being sued, what my defense?

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If I left a car over 6 years ago with someone and it was in a accident 2 years ago but now I’m being sued, what my defense?

Or better yet what can I do? I called the DMV and they told me unless I have proof that I sold it or transferred title I’m liable. However, I’m not living in that area and haven’t done for 7 years.

Asked on May 13, 2014 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The DMV is correct.  As the registered owner of the vehicle, you are liable for the accident.  Since you left the car several years ago, I assume that you did not have auto insurance on the vehicle when the accident occurred. If you had auto insurance on the vehicle, you could have referred the matter to the insurance company, which would provide you with an attorney at no cost.

If the other party obtains a judgment against you which you cannot afford to pay, it would be advisable to file bankruptcy at that time.  Depending on your income and other factors, you may be eligible to file Chapter 7.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will eliminate the debt.  If you are not eligible to file Chapter 7, you can file Chapter 13; however, Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a plan (budget) for repayment of creditors.

Another alternative is to sue the driver of your car who caused the accident, for the amount of any judgment the party who was not at fault obtains against you.


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