If I was in an accident with a borrowed car that only had liability insurance, is my estranged husband liable for my bills?

UPDATED: May 31, 2015

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If I was in an accident with a borrowed car that only had liability insurance, is my estranged husband liable for my bills?

I hit a telephone pole and totaled the car. If the party that owns the car decides to sue me for the cost of the car, would my husband be obligated to pay because we live in a community property state? I’ve have moved out of my husband’s home but we are not legally separated.

Asked on May 31, 2015 under Accident Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Since you are not divorced, you are still leagally married regardles of the fact that you are no longer living together. Accordingly, in a community property state, one spouse can be held liable for bills of the other spouse. This means that community assets can be taken to satisfy creditor claims, if necessary, and the innocent spouse's wages could be garnished. That all having been said, this is a general rule and the laws of each specific community property state differ so you should consult directly with an attorney and go over all the details of your case with them.

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