If my soon-to-be stepdaughter let her unlicensed friend drive my vehicle and they had an accident, who is responsible for the damages?

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If my soon-to-be stepdaughter let her unlicensed friend drive my vehicle and they had an accident, who is responsible for the damages?

I had no knowledge of the friend taking the car. She is 15 and only has a driver’s permit. The car was totaled.

Asked on February 5, 2013 under Accident Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the unlicensed driver was at fault in the accident, you are liable for the property damage and personal injury claims of the other driver, who was not at fault in the accident.  You are liable because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.  You can sue the unlicensed driver's parents for the loss of your vehicle. 

If the unlicensed driver was at fault in the accident, and your insurance company denies the claim from the party who was not at fault and you are sued by that party, you can recover the amount of the judgment against you in a lawsuit against the unlicensed driver's parents.


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