Can the other party sue my parents if I was the one who was in the car accident? 22 Answers as of February 13, 2013

I was involved in a car accident about a year ago. I was driving my parent’s car when I hit another car and this person is trying to sue my parents and is asking way over the insurance limit. Can she do this? I live on my own work, a part time job and I have no money. My father barely makes enough money to support my 2 brothers, my sister and our mother.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Yes. Both the driver and the owner are responsible.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/13/2013
David P. Slater, esq.
David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
Yes. Both driver and owner are liable.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/13/2013
Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP | Britany M. Engelman
It appears the injured parties are going after your parents under the theory of negligent entrustment. If there are facts that your parents were negligent in allowing you to drive their vehicle based on things they knew or should have known (e.g. a poor driving record, a history of recent car accidents, suspended license, history of DUI, etc.), the injured parties may be able to prevail against your parents based on these facts.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal | Sandeep G. Agarwal
If your parents are the owners of the car, then yes. If you have been sued, send the Summons and Complaint to your father's insurance company.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
If you were living with your parents at the time of the accident, they could probably be sue pursuant to a law known as the family purpose doctrine. If you were not living with them, I do not believe the family purpose doctrine will apply. Their insurer will hire an attorney to defend you and them, and the attorney can ask that the case against them be dismissed if there is no basis for them to be in the suit.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 2/13/2013
    Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal injury law firm
    Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal injury law firm | Jason Neufeld
    Yes. Your parents are technically on the hook for the accident you caused while droning their vehicle. However if they do not have significant assets, it would not be worth the plaintiff attorney's time/money to pursue beyond the insurance limits.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Christian Menard
    Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
    The driver of a vehicle responsible for an accident causing injuries is responsible for all injuries approximately caused thereby. The owners of the vehicle are liable by statute up to a limited amount which is $15,000.00.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    The owner of a car is responsible for the actions of a driver who has permission to use the car. Let your (or your parents?) insurance worry about it; that's why we have insurance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Yes. The owner of the car can be sued too.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    The operator and the owner or owners of an automobile are responsible for its operation . the insurance company will deal with these matters. That is why you have insurance.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes, they can sue your parents, and they can sue for more than the insurance, but the question is whether they can win. To prove your parents liable, they would have to show that they knew you were an incompetent driver and let you drive anyway. The insurance company for your parents should provide you and them with a lawyer or lawyers. If you and/or they are liable, one way you can protect yourselves is to tell the insurance company lawyer to settle within the limits of the policy. If the person suing is willing to settle within the limits of the policy and your insurance company fails to settle within the limits after you and your parents have instructed them to do so, the insurance company will have to pay any judgment in excess of the policy limits. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    The other driver is suing the owner of the car for negligent entrustment. It is standard. Just because they ask for more than the limits doesn't mean they will get that.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Steven Kalishman, P.A.
    Steven Kalishman, P.A. | Steven J Kalishman
    The owner of a vehicle is also liable for any harm caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle. Even though the demand is higher than the insurance limits, they will most likely accept the limits (or even less). Your parents' insurance company will handle everything at no cost to your parents.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    Your parents should turn the matter over to their auto insurance agent to defend. Generally speaking, they are responsible for what happens as a result of their car being driven. There is also a doctrine called negligent entrustment, which may apply if they knew that they should not have let you use the car. If you had auto insurance at the time of the accident, you should also turn the matter over to your agent. Given the circumstances financially, the injured person may not be able to collect anything even if he/she sues and gets a judgment other than wage garnishments.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Paul A. Lauto, PLLC
    Paul A. Lauto, PLLC | Paul A. Lauto
    In NY, the owners of a motor vehicle are vicariously liable for the acts of the operator with consent. That means that in NY, if your parents were the owners of the car you were driving with their permission at the time of the accident, then yes they can be sued and it is your parents' car insurance that is primary for coverage.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Kevin C. Flesch | Lori Beck
    They can sue the owner of the vehicle, as well as you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    In California, in order to get to the insurance policy covering the auto you were driving at the time, the injured person must sue the policy holder. If your parents were not in the car and had nothing to do with the accident itself, other than it was their vehicle, they are probably limited in liability by law to ownership liability limits. However, if for some reason they gave you the car and knew there was a reason you were not competent to drive at the time, and were actively negligent in that way, they might be liable over and above the permissive use/ownership liability limits.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    The plaintiff would be able to sue your parents only if you were running some errand for them at the time of the accident, or they knew you were an incompetent driver, and still gave you permission to use their car. Incompetence is usually proved through prior accidents and/or traffic citations.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Reade & Associates
    Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
    Under the "Family Purpose Doctrine" as codified in NRS 41.440, Nevada law imposes vicarious liability upon a vehicle owner for a family member's negligence while driving. Therefore if your parents are the owner of the vehicle, they can be held liable for your negligence.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    In Florida, the owner of the car is as responsible as the driver is. Why don't you have a long talk with your insurance company and tell them to get rid of the case by paying the policy limits?
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/12/2013
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