Stepson rearend someone about 4 or 5 years ago. now my wife and I are being suid.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Stepson rearend someone about 4 or 5 years ago. now my wife and I are being suid.

Stepson was in his late twentys,he solely owned the vehicle
insurance was only in his name. We were no where near the
wreck. At the time he was staying with us but there is
nothing in any way that connects us to the wreck, the
car,or his insurance.

Asked on October 26, 2016 under Accident Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, you are not liable: a parent is not liable for the accidents an adult child gets into, unless it was the parent's vehicle.  If it's not clear from the summons whether or not you need to submit a written answer (sometimes, for example, in small claims court, there is no written "answer"), call the court clerk's office to see if you need to submit an answer. If you need to submit an answer, draft a short one denying the allegations, stating affirmatively what you put into your questions, and file with the court and send to the person suing you. 
Regardless of whether you need to file an answer or not, send the plaintiff (person suing) a letter, sent somewhat you can prove delivery (like certified mail or fed ex with tracking) stating again, what you stated above; further stating that you are therefore not laible; and warning him that if he does not withdraw the lawsuit, you will sue him for frivolous ligitation. If he does not withdraw, then you can file your own complaint against him for the frivolous litigation--for filing a lawsuit when there is no legal or factual basis.
(Note: if he has a lawyer, you send communications to the attorney; if he does not, you send directly to him.)
Make sure, if the case is not provably dismissed, to show up in court: missing a court appearance can cause you to lose no matter how good your defense.
The above assumes you're being sued for no more than, say, $5,000, so you intend to not spend the money on an attorney but rather respond yourself. If being sued for so much that it makes sense to get a lawyer, let the lawyer deal with the above, but just make sure that he/she has all the facts.

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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