Who can sue me if Im the RO of the vehicle, but not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the collision??

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who can sue me if Im the RO of the vehicle, but not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the collision??

My ex-husband received the New Link Destination
yota Tundra in our divorce. I made several documented attempts to meet with him and have the registration changed from my name to his. He’s had the truck for four years and had it insured. He was involved in a collision in November 2017, in which the truck was totaled. I heard from family members that he could not get the money for the truck, because he wasn’t the registered owner. Can he sue me? Or can the driver of the other vehicle sue me?

Asked on February 14, 2018 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your ex-husband cannot sue you for any money from this: if he was at-fault in the accident, he cannot profit by it (the at-fault person cannot get money for an accident he was at-fault in causing), but the only grounds to sue the owner of a vehicle is the fault of the driver--so if he was not at fault, there are not grounds to sue you (and as stated, if he was at fault, he cannot personally profit by his fault).
If he was at-fault the other driver can sue either or both (his option) of you and your ex: your ex, because the at-fault driver may be sued for being at fault; and you, because a vehicle's owner is liable or responsible when someone who is legally driving (i.e. did not steal) their car is at fault in an accident. If your ex was not at fault, you cannot be sued. (Or they could *try* to sue--but if you  were not at fault, you should win.)
If the other driver was at fault, you and/or your ex may be able to sue him.

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