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If I sold my car and the title was never transferred, am I liable if the buyer did not insure the car and was in an accident?

Saint Francis, MN |

I sold my car to a friend last July, and we signed a bill of sale and promissory note. I messed up the whole title thing because I didn't realize I had to be a lien holder on the title. The title is still in my name and the bill of sale specified that I would transfer it to him once he finished making payments, that I am not liable for anything that occurs with the vehicle ("indemnify and hold harmless"), and that he would obtain and maintain full coverage insurance on the vehicle during the repayment period. He was just in a head-on collision (his fault) in which he totaled his (my) car, the other person's car, and both parties wound up in the hospital. I just found out he had lied to me and the car was uninsured. Is it likely I will be sued by the other party's insurance company?

Attorney Answers 3


I cannot tell you what exactly will unfold in your situation, but I do urge you to confer privately with an attorney as to this matter. Here is a link to Minnesota statute that addresses how with regard to a collision, an authorized driver (the 'operator') is deemed an agent of the owner:

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL and outlying areas to ST CLOUD. Do seek legal counsel for your personal legal issues and needs. This post is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post is to be considered general information which may or may not apply to your personal situation.

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I have attached a website link that may be helpful to you.

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If you had not cancelled your insurance maybe they will defend you. In any event, you should consult a lawyer. If you get sued the contract or bill of sale will be an important document. The buyer obviously lied to you, so I am optimistic you will be ok. Next time you take the other party down to Secretary of State and transfer the title. Good Luck!

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