What is the law regarding implied consent to drive issues in auto claims?

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What is the law regarding implied consent to drive issues in auto claims?

My friend’s parked car was hit by a repeat offender drunk driver. He was arrested and the cars towed early that morning. The drunk driver was driving his uncle’s car who had liability only. My friend, a single mother on unemployment had liability only on this, her only transportation. Now the uncle is claiming he never gave his nephew consent to drive the car. Can he say this after a claim has been started? If he is going to say this, shouldn’t he have reported it stolen right away? Sounds fraudulent to me to claim this after the fact. Is there anything she can do to speed things up?

Asked on August 11, 2010 under Accident Law, Kansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am unfamiliar with Missouri law but generally the term "implied consent" is used in DUI cases with breathalyzer or chemical testing.  There is a doctrine known as "permissive use" in auto cases where the owner of a vehicle becomes "vicariously liable" for the acts of a driver driving their vehicle with permission.  This is so that those who fall victim to the negligent acts of the driver of a car can collect on the insurance that is associated with the vehicle.  Yes, I agree that the Uncle should have reported the car stolen long before now.  It casts suspicion on the matter.  What your friend need is an attorney to help.  You will have to prove that he had access to the vehicle's keys and that he had driven the car before with permission etc.  She is going to have to sue the driver and the owner to recover.  Good luck.


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