Could I be liable if something happened while someone without a license was driving my car? 14 Answers as of July 08, 2013

My daughter-in-law recently filed for divorce. The problem is the car that she has is titled in my name and hers, because I co-signed on the loan. She has always been current on the payments and insurance. I found out that she is letting a person without a driver's license drive the car. Could I be liable if something would happen while the non-licensed person was driving the car? What are my legal rights?

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Chalat Hatten & Koupal PC
Chalat Hatten & Koupal PC | Linda Chalat
You will not be held liable for entrusting the car to a non-licensed driver if you do not have control of the vehicle. You should determine the terms of the insurance coverage. Be certain that the vehicle is not covered by your policy but also make certain that the vehicle does have coverage that will at least pay off the loan amount so that if an accident does occur you are not paying on a loan for a vehicle that has been totaled.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/14/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Yes you can need to get your name off title see a lawyer now to do it.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/13/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
As an owner you may be responsible for any operation of the car. You need to get your name off the title and insurance
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 10/28/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
As long as your name is on the title you will be responsible. Regardless of whether your name remains on the title, you will be responsible to the financing company.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/12/2011
Klisz Law Office, PLLC
Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
Yes- you are liable as owner. Make sure the car is well insured!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/28/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Send your daughter in law a letter via return receipt requested / certified telling her that the unlicensed person does not have permission to operate the vehicle. You might retain counsel to obtain a restraining order preventing the unlicensed person from driving the car.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, as a partial owner of the car, you can be liable if the car is involved in an accident. Tell her to stop or you'll force the sale of the car.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You pose a very interesting question. I was unaware that two people could be on the title to a car. Generally, if a person has permission to use the car, then the owner is responsible for any damages or injuries they cause through negligence. But your question is unique in that what if one owner gave permission and the other did not. That begs the question of whether or not one owner has actual or apparent authority to give the other owner's permission to use the car even though the other owner knows nothing about it. Figuring this out could give you a headache. So, here's what I say: you go to this unlicensed operator, preferably with a witness, and make it absolutely clear that he or she does not have your permission to drive the car, that you forbid it, and that the other owner has no right to give this person your permission. Your other option is to seize possession of the car to protect yourself from any liability.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    You should tell your daughter to not allow someone without a driver's license to drive her car. Depending on the insurance policy language, letting someone drive without a license can void her coverage. This means that if the car is damaged the insurance company won't pay to fix it. If another car is damaged or people are hurt the insurance company may not pay for that either. As one of the owners of the vehicle it is not likely that you would personally be responsible for the damage done by the unlicensed driver with the exception of the damage to the car. Since you co-signed the loan you would be obligated to pay off the loan if the vehicle is totaled and the insurance company denies the claim based on the policy being voided.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    I think you should discourage her from doing this or have the title changed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    As an owner, you would be responsible for any permissive user of the vehicle, regardless of whether they have a license or not. Just tell her not to let anyone use the car......and if she argues with her, tell her that you would be responsible and if she wants to do that, then you insist that she increase the bodily injury liability insurance to a million dollars. That should stop the loaning of the car.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Yes! An accident caused by anyone who drives a car you own or co-own, and who drives with your knowledge and permission (even if not express permission), is your financial responsibility just as if you were driving. You should put in writing to your daughter-in-law that she cannot let this individual drive the car.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/17/2012
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