If our vehicle was hit by an unlicensed driver in an uninsured car, who can I sue?

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If our vehicle was hit by an unlicensed driver in an uninsured car, who can I sue?

A car hit and fled the scene after hitting my truck which was parked out in front of my home. The vehicle was found, the driver not, but the policeimpounded it. Today we found out that the person driving the car does not have a licence and that his dad owns the car, but it is uninsured. Who is going to pay for the damages? My insurance company will not, I don’t have full coverage, and even if I did I don’t think I should have to.

Asked on March 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the car's owners if, either--

1) the son was a minor using the car; or

2) the son was an adult, but had permission, including implied permission, to use the car

Basically--and to oversimplify--the only grounds under which you could not bring a lawsuit would be if an adult child stole the car without permission.

Even though the car is not insured, you can still sue; insurance provides a way to pay any judgment against the car's owner (if you bring and win a lawsuit), but is not a prerequisite to being sued. Of course, if the car's owner has limited assets or income, then as a practical matter, you may not be able to collect; if he has no money, there's nothing to recover or receive.


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