What to do if both my brother and I are being sent to collections for an accident that’s my responsibility not his?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if both my brother and I are being sent to collections for an accident that’s my responsibility not his?

I was involved in a car accident 4 months ago for which I was found at fault and I am uninsured. The car is registered under my brother’s name but I took the car without his permission. He was at work and I do not have rights to use the car; I took it without his knowledge. Now the other party’s insurer are sending us both letters to pay up. Can my brother be sued for money even though he did not allow me to use his car?

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

Robert Johnston / Law Office of Robert J. Johnston Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to be very careful how you handle this so your not charged with stealing or using the car without permission. I would suggest consulting with a local attorney and be sure to ask the attorney if you can call the insurance company and make arrangments for you to be soley responsible and leave your brother out of it. They don't care who pays them, as long as they are paid. There might be a couple other options, but I don't have enough information. Talk to a local attorney.

Robert Slim / Robert C. Slim - Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your brother can be sued, but the only claim they would have against him would be for "negligent entrustment."  That is, if the owner of a car "entrusts" their vehicle to someone who is an unlicensed or incompetent driver, then the vehicle owner may be held liable if the driver gets into an at-fault accident.  However, the owner has to "entrust" the vehicle to the driver.  If it is shown that the driver took the vehicle without the owner's express or implied permission, then the owner is not liable for the accident.  If your brother had insurance on the vehicle, report the accident to the insurance company immediately. They might be able to work everything out and get you both off the hook.  But if your brother didn't have insurance, then be prepared for both of you to be served with a lawsuit which you must defend.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption