Can my previous insurance sue me for personal injury when someone else was driving? 19 Answers as of April 01, 2013

I had 2 vehicles registered and insured in 2010. My sister would use the spare vehicle. She got into an accident were she was at fault. I the policy holder wasn't present. My sister had a valid license. I just got a small claims letter stating I have to appear in court for personal injuries that was paid by my insurance. It’s states we owned and negligently operated a motor vehicle causing personal injury benefits to be paid. Please help.

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
Your insurance company should defend you. Make a demand on it. If it won't help, you might sue it for bad faith.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/1/2013
Graves Law Firm
Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
Contact your own insurance carrier and send them the suit papers. From what you've said here, it seems your insurer should be protecting you on this. If the plaintiff has already been paid and signed a release, he or she has no business filing in small claims or elsewhere. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 2/28/2013
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
If the car was insured and the amount paid by your insurance was within the policy limits, the insurance company is not entitled to get that money back from you. That is what insurance is for. Unless the person who was driving was a specifically excluded driver whom you allowed to drive the vehicle, then you might be on the hook. Are you sure it is the insurance company who is suing you? Or is the insurance company asking you to appear as a witness because the person who was injured is suing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/28/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
The owner and the driver of an auto are both liable for the negligent operation of a vehicle. don't know why you are in court if your company has already paid the damage. Doesn't make sense. Get you a good lawyer and let him figure it out.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/28/2013
Kelly & Soto Law
Kelly & Soto Law | Michael Kelly
It is unlikely that you can be held liable for your sisters negligence. Mere permissive use of a vehicle within the family circle does not hold the owner liable for damages unless the use was related to some business purpose or if the permission was given negligently (for instance you knew that she was a poor driver). See 11 Mass. Prac., Motor Vehicle Law And Practice 5:17 (4th ed.) for a more intense explanation of MA law on the subject. It may be the case that you need an attorney to resolve this issue.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 2/28/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Call your insurance company and let them know immediately. They will assign you and your sister a lawyer or lawyers, depending on who is being sued for what. You can be liable only if you knew your sister was an incompetent driver and you let her drive your car anyway.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    In Florida, the owner of a vehicle is as responsible as the negligent driver if the driver was using the vehicle with your permission.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Robert Butwinick | Robert Butwinick
    It is common for a plaintiff to sue both the vehicle driver and the owner if those are separate people. Your insurance company should defend you and your sister, and you should both be protected by the coverage you had in place. In short, you are named in the suit simply because you owned the vehicle. It may seem odd, but that is the way its typically handled. The defense counsel assigned to the case by your insurer should be able to explain the situation to you in further detail. Best of luck. Robert S. Butwinick Attorney at Law CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE - This e-mail transmission, and any documents, files or previous e-mail messages attached to it may contain information that i s confidential or legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, or a person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified you must not read this transmission and that any disclosure, copying, printing, distribution or use of any of the information contained in or attached to this transmission is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you have received this transmission in error, please immediately notify the sender by telephone or return e-mail and delete the original transmission and its attachments without reading or saving in any manner.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    The situation you describe seems a bit confused. You should contact your insurance company and see what is going on and then perhaps contact a personal injury attorney. As owner of the car, you are liable jointly with your sister for the first $15,000 in damages [if they get $15,000 from her then you owe nothing], but since it was not being used as your car, your insurance company may be saying there was no coverage. A demand normally has to be made before suit can be filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    David P. Slater, esq.
    David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
    If your insurance carrier paid the claimant, they cannot collect twice. Obtain written information from your carrier and a copy of the general release the claimant signed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Robert Kubler | Robert Kubler
    If you let her drive the vehicle and she causes an accident you can be held liable. Its called negligent entrustment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    In Nevada the owner of a car is responsible for the accidents involving a user who had consent to use the car.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    Your own insurance company cannot sue you to recover payments made to the injured party unless you did not have an insurance policy but rather had a bond. My guess, however, is that it's the insurance company for the other driver that paid money to him/her and is now seeking reimbursement from you. It sounds as if you and the other driver have the same insurance company which sometimes happens. Submit the claim to your insurance agent requesting a defense in the lawsuit. My guess is when the insurance company sees it's ultimately seeking money from itself, the case will be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Depends on your policy and was she a registered driver or on the policy? Was she living with you and did you fail to inform the insurance company. All of these would impact on why you are being sued by the company.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    Something is amiss here. Are you sure you are being sued by your own insurance company? Your own insurance company should respond/defend any claims vs. you, your sister if she caused injuries to others in a car crash. The injured folks should have gotten their PIP/No Fault benefits from their own insurance company. Neither your insurance company, nor their insurance company should be able to sue you for benefits that were paid out if your insurance was in force and effect on the date of the crash. If indeed it is your insurer suing you, you should consult counsel immediately and bring them the policies, the declaration sheets, the police report and the suit papers for review.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    Sounds like what is going on is that you insured the vehicle , and under that policy you were listed as the primary driver, but in reality you were not, and in fact you were insuring the vehicle for a 3rd party i.e. your sister, now if you allow someone to use your vehicle once in awhile the insurance company would be bound to cover that vehicle even if it was not you driving as long as you were the person who was in fact the primary user of the vehicle, in this case you are doing the reverse so the insurance company has a breach of contract issue with you, i.e. the insurance policy is a contract under the terms of that contract you have stated that you will be the primary user of that vehicle, in this case you were not your sister was actually the primary driver, therefor you breached the contract, therefor they are seeking damages.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would have to see your policy but that should be covered except the deductible.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/27/2013
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