If a person driving my car without a valid license is involved in an accident, am I liable?

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If a person driving my car without a valid license is involved in an accident, am I liable?

Asked on August 4, 2010 under Accident Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Was this an authorized driver? In other words, did you give him or her permission to drive your car? If so, then yes, you may be liable--car owners are potentially liable for the actions of and damages caused by people who they let drive their vehicles. Worse, it's not impossible that you may have violated your insurance policy and be deprived of coverage: you need to check the policy, but it would not be uncommon for their to be some term that either explicitly or implicitly provides that the insurance company may disclaim coverage if you let someone without a license drive, or allowed the car to be used for an illegal purpose--and someone driving without a license is illegal.

If the person took your car without persmission, you might still be covered--but in that case, you may have to press charges, essentially for car theft, against the person.


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