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I'm buying a car for my brother and I will hold the title. I will also buy his car insurance. Am I liable if he has an accident?

Denver, CO |

He's always strapped for cash, but is a good driver. I just fear if he has the title he will turn around and sell the car I just bought him.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. An owner of a vehicle has liability here in Fl. You would be considered an owner by holding title. That may well be the same in your state as it is in many others. I'm sure some of the Avvo attorneys in your state will be able to give you a quick answer on this.


  2. The same is true in California for up to minimum limits and there is a cause of action for negligent entrustment if the person is a horrible driver. Make sure he has insurance and ask his broke if you should also be an additional insured on his policy and what the cost will be.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. These answers do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend I believe in telling the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ.. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are preparation of court documents it is , less expensive. However generally I believe an attorney is better than none.


  3. As the owner of the vehicle, you are responsible for who drives it. Letting a known incompetent drive it, for example, would constitute negligent entrustment.

    Check your insurance coverage very carefully.

    The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  4. Interesting question.

    You may indeed be liable if you are the title holder.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  5. Yes, so not a good call.


  6. If your brother is the kind of person who would turn the vehicle over for cash, I suggest you not enable his behaviors. You could potentially have a lot of liability if your name is on the title. Knowing that this vehicle will be in your name but for his use, you have a great number of potential insurance coverage problems that need to be worked out through your insurance broker. Sit down with your insurance broker and make sure that they fully understand how this car will be titled and who will use it. Providing false information to the insurance carrier will void the coverage when you need it the most, after your brother has a severe accident. I suggest you consider excess or umbrella coverage on this vehicle as well. Proceed with this undertaking very cautiously.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within 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. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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