If I was hit by a driver who was excluded from the insurance, can I sue the owner of the car?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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If I was hit by a driver who was excluded from the insurance, can I sue the owner of the car?

The insurance company denied any claims and refuses to pay for damages. I can’t find the driver but can find the owner. Can I sue the owner of the car for allowing driving a car knowing that the driver was excluded from the policy?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Accident Law, Arizona


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The registered owner of the car that caused the accident is liable for your damages.  The insurance company for the registered owner should accept liability.  You can sue the registered owner for negligence.  The registered owner is liable for negligence for the damages you incurred in the accident even though someone else was driving.  The registered owner's negligence would also include negligent entrustment since the registered owner allowed someone else to drive who caused the accident.

Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting an auto body repair shop whose fees are comparable to other auto body repair shops in the area.  If you selected the most expensive repair shop you  could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you need a rental car while your car is in the repair shop, your damages should also include the cost of the rental car.  Again, you will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rental rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.

If you were injured in the accident, your damages in your lawsuit would also include the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills and compensation for wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  If you were injured in the accident, you should wait on filing your lawsuit until you have been released by the doctor upon completion of medical treatment or declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated so that you will have your total medical bills and final medical report and total wage loss.

Whether or not you have been released by the doctor, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the registered owner prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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