What to do if my sister was in an accident driving my uninsured car and she was at fault but now their garnishing my checks, as well as hers?

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What to do if my sister was in an accident driving my uninsured car and she was at fault but now their garnishing my checks, as well as hers?

I was not in the car at the the time of accident. Is this legal and, if so, how can I get the amount they take every check reduced? I’m a single mother of 2.

Asked on May 3, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter if you were in the car or not: the owner of a car is equally liable with any person whom she permits to drive it (that is, you are responsible for the accident, too, because you let your sister drive). The injured party or their insurer can decide whether to go against the driver, the car's owner, or both. Not having insurance to pay them, they can proceed against your income (i.e. garnish it). If they are taking more than is allowed by law, you can get the garnishment reduced; this is not a simply process, and even figuring out how much they can legally take is not always straightforward, so you are advised to consult with an attorney. You also could sue your sister to recover some or all of what is taken for you, since it was her fault that you are having wages garnished; you can discuss this with your lawyer.

In the future, do not have a car without insurance; the insurance requirement is not just to protect others, it is also to protect you from being economically damaged or ruined.


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