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I live in NY, friend borrows car and has accident in PA; can I be sued in PA?

Allentown, PA |

I live in NY, friend borrows car and has accident in PA; can I be sued in PA?

Attorney Answers 5


The friend who borrowed your car can be sued where the accident took place.Insurance goes with the car so its your insurance. Most cases that involve personal injury are settled and do not require litigation. Contact your insurance carrier immediately.

Jonathan N. Portner, Esquire, Portner & Shure, P.A. Maryland and Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys. This response is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This response should not be relied upon. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm

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An owner of a vehicle can indeed be sued, even if they were not in the car at the time of the collision. There are a number of theories to attach liability to an owner in these circumstances. The two predominant forms of vicarious (i.e. owner) liability are: 1) Negligent Entrustment-meaning the owner negligently permitted an unqualified driver to operate the vehicle (e.g. unlicensed driver, uninsured vehicle, habitual offender, intoxicated, etc.) or 2) Respondeat Superior-meaning that the driver was performing some service for the owner making the driver an agent of the owner.
Although an owner of a vehicle can be sued vicariously, as of June 28, 2011, defendants in Pennsylvania civil actions can now only be held responsible for the actual percentage of harm that they caused. Previously, if there was more than one responsible party, any one defendant could be held accountable for 100% of the injured party’s damages, regardless of the actual percentage of fault that the defendant bore. Now, Pennsylvania law holds each defendant responsible for their respective fault, not for the entire amount of damages. Note, there are some exceptions where an at-fault defendant could still be compelled to pay 100% of an injured party’s damages regardless of their degree of fault, these categories include: intentional misrepresentation cases, intentional torts, cases involving hazardous materials, and certain liquor code violations. Moreover, if a defendant is determined to be 60% or more at fault for the loss then he or she can still be held jointly & severally liable (i.e. responsible for 100% of an award).
You should contact your insurance carrier, they will hire you an attorney to defend yourself and the driver
Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.

Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving New Jersey & Pennsylvania

223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063 (Philadelphia Area)


All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to consult with an attorney, or have any questions concerning this comment, please feel free to contact our offices through any of the above contact sources.

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If you have insurance, which you should have, contact your insurance carrier and have them defend the matter. That is why you are paying for a auto policy.

Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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15 lawyers agree


Yes, but simply turn this over to your insurance company to resolve. That's why we all have insurance.

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20 lawyers agree


Yes, since the accident occurred in Pennsylvania. However, if you receive a notice about a lawsuit or even a possible lawsuit then just call your insurance company.

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5 lawyers agree

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