What to do if my daughter-in-law took my uninsured car without authorization and was in an accident?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my daughter-in-law took my uninsured car without authorization and was in an accident?

My car was registered but not insured. She was involved in an accident in another state and did not have a valid license. Damage to the other vehicle and injury to the driver occurred. Where do I stand legally? I told my son repeatedly not to let her drive as she did not have a valid license.

Asked on May 19, 2014 under Accident Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your daughter-in-law truly took the car without either your permission or the permission of anyone else who had the right to drive it (e.g. say you gave son permssion to drive it; and he let her take it--that would then be a permitted use), then you might not be liable for any accident, injuries, damage, etc. she causes, at least if you also took reasonable precautions to not let her use the car (for example: if she lives with you, you did not have the car keys hanging on a hook where anyone in the household could take them; if the keys were freely available to anyone in the house, that could be taken as granting them permission).

However, if she had permission to use the car, including implicit permission, you, as the car's owner, would be liable--and, not having insurance, would have to pay it all yourself.

Note though that to establish and support that the car was taken without your permission, you may have to report your daughter-in-law as having stolen it--since an unauthorized use of a car is essentially theft. If you're not willing to do that, or cannot do so in a convincing way, given the facts, you may not be able to show that the car's use was unauthorized.


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