What are my rights if I’m an uninsured driver and drove someone else’s car while that same person was a passenger and we had an accident?

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What are my rights if I’m an uninsured driver and drove someone else’s car while that same person was a passenger and we had an accident?

I was at fault. The car only had liability insurance, so now the insurance company is of course refusing to pay for the damages. The owner of the car wants me to sign a preliminary statement stating that I will pay $4500 for the damages. I was told that if I do not sign the statement and pay the money, I will be taken to court for the full price of repairs which is over $6000. I’m not sure what to do but I know if I sign the statement that I am legally bound to it. Will I lose in court and have to pay any amount? I did have permission to drive and the owner was a passenger.

Asked on December 27, 2014 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since you were at fault in the accident, your vehicle owner's insurance will pay for the property damage and personal injury claims of the other vehicle (the party who was not at fault in the accident).  

If you had not been at fault in the accident, the registered owner of the vehicle you were driving would file a claim with the at-fault party's insurance carrier for the property damage to the vehicle you were driving.

Since you were at fault in the accident, the registered owner of the vehicle you were driving is liable for the accident.  The party who was not at fault in the accident (other vehicle) can sue the owner of the vehicle you were driving for property damage and personal injury claims if the case is not settled with your vehicle owner's insurance carrier.  Your vehicle owner could then sue you to recover the amount of the judgment against him/her in addition to the property damage you caused to his/her vehicle.

Yes, you will lose in court if you are sued by your vehicle's owner.  Therefore, it would be advisable to sign the agreement to pay $4500 instead of the $6000+ of your vehicle owner's property damage.  This will only limit the amount you will pay your vehicle's owner for his/her property damage.  If the party who was not at fault sues your vehicle owner for property damage and personal injury because the case was not settled with your vehicle owner's insurance carrier, your vehicle owner can sue you to recover the amount of that judgment.  Again, the agreement you sign with your vehicle owner to pay the property damage to his/her vehicle won't prevent your vehicle onwer from suing you for the amount of a judgment obtained against him/her by the party who was not at fault in the accident.

 


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