Am I legally responsible for this auto accident claim? 2 Answers as of May 17, 2011

I let my daughter take my car to work. This was November 2010. I was in bed, not well. My mistake. I should have taken her. Her father was in the process of purchasing her car. I did not have her on my auto insurance. Since she was going to have her own car within the next couple of weeks. She was at a stop light and bumped the car in front of her. She told me about the accident and unbeknownst to me, the victim went to her car insurance company and obviously got $1,261.23 for a scratch barely visible. My car was not damaged and no visible marking whatsoever. This woman was very good. Since my automobile insurance company would not cover this claim, I received my first communication March 28, 2011 from a credit collection service. Do I have any recorse? This bill is in my name, not my daughters, since it was my car she was driving.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
West law Office
West law Office | Russell West
Liability will fall with the owner of the vehicle and not the driver. It is ok to let someone drive your car if they are just borrowing it and have your permission. If they have regular access to drive the vehicle and live in your household they should be added to the insurance. You should work with your insurance company to see if they will pay. I am assuming they are not taking liability since your daughter was not added to the policy and lives at your home. If they will not handle you should try to negotiate with the other insurance company to see if they will take a reduction to settle the claim. If the other party is claiming previous damage and there was no damage from this accident then it is a fraudulent claim which should be investigated.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/17/2011
Shaw Law Firm
Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
Washington State follows something called the Family Car Doctrine, which means if she had your permission to drive the vehicle, you're most likely on the hook for the damage. However, your insurer should cover the damage, as long as she was not a regular driver. She was what the policy will refer to as a permissive driver. For example, if you let your neighbor drive your car and the neighbor caused the collision, your policy would still cover the loss. There may be some obscure exclusion that states that a member of the household must be listed as a covered driver, but I doubt it. Show your policy to an attorney that is familiar with insurance coverage and you may find that there is, in fact, coverage.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/17/2011
Click to View More Answers: