What to do if my son bought a car which I co-signed for and it was involed in a hit and run accident?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my son bought a car which I co-signed for and it was involed in a hit and run accident?

My son was not the driver; whoever was driving took off left car at the scene. Then phone calls started coming from a finance company that told me my son put me down as sole owner of car. Now they want $20,000 from me. I also got a letter from an insurance company saying it wants to be reimbursed for another $20,000 for a car that was involved at the scene of the accident in which someone was hurt. My son is currently in jail for parol violation. Now all these people are coming after me. I don’t know what to do or say to these people for fear of making matters worse. One insurance company sent me a claim form for my son’s car.

Asked on November 19, 2013 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you are an owner of the car, whether sole or a co-owner, then you are potentially liable for all costs, damage, and injuries caused by anyone who drove the car with either your permission or the permission of another owner or person who himself had the right to drive the car (i.e. with your son's persmission); that's because a vehicle's owner is liable for all permitted uses. If the driver had stolen the car, then you should not be liable; otherwise, from what you write, you may well be resonsible. Your options are to defend against the claims, on the ground that the driver was not at-fault in causing the accident (which is unlikely, if it was a hit-and-run); to show, as stated, that the car was stolen; to sue your son for the money you have to pay out due to his letting someone else use the car--which may not help, if he has little or no money; to find the driver (presumably, your son knows who it was) and sue him or her to recover any losses, costs, damages, etc. you have to pay out; or possibly to consider bankruptcy. With so much money at stake, you should consult with an attorney to discuss the situation in depth and decide on a course of action.


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