Could I be sued if my son gets in an accident and my name is on the title? 39 Answers as of June 09, 2013

I co-signed for my sons car loan. if he were involved in an accident and caused the accident can I be sued because my name is on the title?

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

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Wilson Kehoe Winingham LLC
Wilson Kehoe Winingham LLC | Wilson Kehoe Winingham LLC
In general, negligence is personal - meaning the person who acted unreasonably and caused the damage or injury is the person who is legally responsible. In a car accident, this means that the person who was driving the car is the one who could be held liable if he acted negligently. In Indiana, the courts have determined that simply being the owner of the car that was driven negligently is not a sufficient connection for you to be held responsible for the negligence of the driver. So, the short answer to the questions is: No, you will not be liable simply because you own the car. However, there are a couple of other important considerations when answering this question. First, the question is posed as "Can I be sued if my son is in an accident any my name is on the title." Keep in mind that being sued and being held liable are two different things. Virtually anyone can be sued for any reason; however, the reason may be frivolous and you would be able to get dismissed from the lawsuit because you are not legally responsible. So keep in mind that while Indiana law generally holds that just because your name is on the title does not mean you can be held liable, that does not mean that sometime you could be named in a lawsuit on the mistaken assumption that you were the driver, or that you have some liability when you actually do not. The second thing to keep in mind is that there are a few exceptions to the general rule of no liability. For example, in some specific instances you may be liable for the negligence of you minor child. This is based on the assumption that parents have some control over their children. Similarly, if you own a car that is used in business and one of your employees causes an accident while driving, you could be held liable for the acts of your employee. The basis for this is the assumption that the employer maintains some control over the employee and how he or she does the job. Finally, if you negligently loan your car to someone you know to be incapable of driving in a reasonable manner, you may be liable for the damage he or she causes. But this liability is not based on the fact that your name is on the title; rather, the liability is based on your own independent negligence in failing to prevent a driver the you should know presents a danger to the public, from driving your car. So the bottom line is, I would not worry about having my name on the title of a car driven by my adult child. Generally, if he is negligent in causing an accident, you were not be held responsible just because your name is on the title.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 9/9/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2013
Advanced Litigation Services
Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
Yes, you are responsible for your son and any damages he causes.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/10/2011
Law Offices of Michael Stephenson
Law Offices of Michael Stephenson | Michael Stephenson
Yes, you can be sued under multiple theories such as negligent entrustment and vicarious liability, depending on the other facts of your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/9/2011
Link & Smith, P.C.
Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
You do not mention your son's age; there is a doctrine called the Family Purpose Act which allows a parent to be vicariously liable for the negligence of a son or daughter if the parents provide the car for the child. Other than that situation, you are likely not liable for the negligence of your son while he is driving. You cannot be liable simply because your name is on the title with no other factors.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    No, you can not be sued just because your name is on the title. However, if your son is under the legal age of majority, then you can be named to the suit as the responsible parent. Also, if you maintain a policy of insurance on the vehicle in addition to your son's policy, then you may be named as well so you are the named insured.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Yes
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    You cannot be sued simply because you co-signed a loan, but if you helped to provide a car to someone whom you knew or should have known was a poor driver, whether by driving record, DWI experience or otherwise, you may be held liable for what is known as "negligent entrustment."
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    No just because your name is on the title. There is a Family Purpose Doctrine which makes an individual who provides a car to a household member to be used for the convenience of the household. This would normally apply to a parent who provides a car for his wife or child, or both. If your son is not a household member or if he is making the car payment, the doctrine would not apply.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Judnich Law Office
    Judnich Law Office | Martin W. Judnich
    Anyone can be sued, it is a matter of whether you are liable or not. If your son is a minor, there is a possibility. If you were somehow negligent in entrusting him to a vehicle, maybe. Other than that, not likely.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    In Nebraska, if your son is under the age of 19, then yes. If not, no. The lawsuit is against the negligent party. Whoever was driving the car and caused the accident is the negligent party.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    If you are simply a co-signor on the loan, you should be okay. If you are co-owner on the title, then you can be sued. However, it's really the insurance company that will be sued if your son is in an accident. The only exception would be if you are sued personally for negligent entrustment of the car.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    There's a difference between being "on title" and being a "cosigner". If you are on title then yes, you could be responsible. But that's only if a judgment is obtained in excess of insurance. If you are only a cosigner then no, you have no responsibility.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    The short answer is yes, because as the title holder and the most responsible party most likely to have insurance or money to pay damages, you will always be a target if your child drives a vehicle titled in your name, has wrecks and people or property are injured.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    In Nevada, yes
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    There is such a thing in Georgia law as the Family Purpose Automobile Doctrine. If you own the car and pay for all the insurance/maintenance, are head of the household, your son lives with you and you allow him to use your car as a convenience to you that doctrine applies. If he owns it and you just co-signed, but he is paying for it especially if the car is in his name you should be safe. You can be safe even if the car is in your name if he is the one actually paying for it or if he doesn't live at home. this doctrine is often very fact-intensive.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Unfortunately, if you were one of the vehicle owners listed on the title, you can be sued. You should talk to your insurance company right away.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    Yes. The owner of a vehicle is liable for up to $15,000 if a driver is involved in an accident. In addition, you can also be sued for negligent entrustment if you know your son is not a good driver.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Yes. Your liability is limited though. I believe the statute caps bodily injury at $15,000 and property damage at $5,000. If you have insurance, this will be covered.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Yes
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes. Google owners liability in Michigan. You can be held liable in a civil action.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    Easy answer: do not allow the car out of the driveway unless it is insured and son is a named driver. Yes, I know, insurance is not mandatory under New Hampshire law. See first sentence. Apply common sense and not law. If you know of a dangerous propensity of the son and you allow him to drive, yes, you could be named in a civil action and there would be an attachment.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    Probably, you can't be sued simply for being on the title and/or on the car loan. The only exception would be if the other side has grounds to sue you for "negligent entrustment" meaning they can show that you knew or should have known that your son was too dangerous to be behind the wheel, and you allowed him to drive the vehicle anyway. The other side would have to base their claim against you on some wrongdoing that you committed, not the mere fact you have an ownership interest in the car. Your son should have insurance to deal with any claims anyway. Refer any lawsuits or liability issues to the insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    There is a claim called negligent entrustment that might create liability for you. If you ignored the fact that your son was very careless and still let him use the car, a jury might find you responsible if his conduct was bad enough over a long enough period of time. Unlikely, but possible. Always make sure the vehicle is insured or it doesn't move.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Yes. In Florida, both the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle are responsible, so long as the driver had the owner's permission to use the vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Philip C. Alexander
    Yes, you could be sued as the owner of the vehicle. Will you be sued? It really depends on the attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Yes, though typically the insurance provider will defend any claim arising from an accident.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    Typically you cannot be sued for the ordinary negligence of your son. Indiana does not have a Family Purpose Doctrine. However if you signed the Financial Responsibility Form at the BMV then in Indiana you can be held responsible for the damages caused by your child until they turn 18 years old. However if your son is older than 18 years old you cannot be held responsible for the damages he causes simply because your name is on the title.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/8/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney