My husband is being sued for an accident involving a car that he sold, but the title was never transferred

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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My husband is being sued for an accident involving a car that he sold, but the title was never transferred

We sold an inoperable car on Craigslist for 300 cash back in August. After the
buyer towed it away, my husband realized the buyer forgot to put his address on
the bill of sale and the title form. My husband tried contacting the buyer and
never heard back. Time went by and he forgot to try pursuing the buyer again and
never ended up sending the incomplete documents into the DMV. In early November,
we got a notice from an auto insurance company that the car was involved in a
head-on auto collision, and that the car was still in my husband’s name and had
his plates on it my husband can’t remember if he removed the plates, but thinks
he did. My husband got another notice that the driver of the other car was
hiring an attorney to sue us at least i think that’s what the letter means. We
need advice on what to do at this point.

Asked on November 29, 2016 under Accident Law, Illinois


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your husband is liable for the accident because he was the registered owner of the vehicle when the accident occurred.
It would be advisable for your husband to retain an attorney to defend him in the lawsuit.
You are correct that transferring title to the vehicle after the accident occurred is too late and won't release your husband from liability.
If the lawsuit results in a court judgment in an amount your husband cannot afford to pay, at that time it would be advisable for both you and your husband to file bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straight liquidation which will eliminate the debt ( amount of the judgment against your husband in the auto accident case).Both spouses should file bankruptcy because if only one spouse files bankruptcy, a creditor will go after the other spouse for payment of the debt.

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 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.

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