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If I was involved in a car accident where I was at fault. The car was insured, but I wasn't, and im being sued. What should I do

Los Angeles, CA |

If I’m a student with no assets and no job can they garnish my future wages? Since my mom is the registered owner of the vehicle could they go after her? If so, what if she has neither assets or a job, can they go after my father since they are married, in California, so they would have community property.

If they try to sue my mom for being the register owner how much would she be liable for, and is the insurance obligated to step in then?

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Attorney answers 3


I am licensed in Nevada, but this answer should apply in California as well.

If your mom had the car insured and you were a permissive user, her insurance should provide coverage for this accident. Take the Complaint (the legal document used to file suit against you) to you moms insurance agent or insurance company. They should accept coverage and provide an attorney to represent you in Court. DO NOT DELAY as an untimely answer could result in a default Judgment against you. I suggest retaining your own attorney if the insurance company does not appoint one for you.

Whether or not they can go after your mom or dad are fact specific questions. Whether or not they can attempt to garnish against you is also fact specific and may depend on whether or not you file a bankruptcy.

Hope this helps.

/s Donald Kudler


If the "car was insured", then generally you too should be insured as a "permissive user" of the car, unless you were specifically excluded on the policy. As for your mother's liability, generally speaking an owner of a car is liable for up to $15,000, but that is "concurrent" with any insurance coverage. Thus, if and owner complies with Cal. law & has at least the minimum coverage of $15,000/$30,000 liability coverage, the owner faces no personal exposure simply for being the owner of the car. (I would caution, however, that the owner can be "independently" negligent. For example, if you were drunk and your mom let you drive the car, she could be found negligent for letting you drive, separate and apart from any negligence you might have for the way you drove the car.)

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First of all, do you know that you would not be protected as a "permissive user" of the car under your mother's auto liability policy? Ordinarily, unless you are specifically excluded under the policy, you would be covered as a permissive user. As to your mom, she would be covered up to the policy limits, and the insurer will certainly pay to have her defended, absent some basis for exclusion that is not revealed by your description of the matter. From all of your comments, it sounds like a situation where the other party will not wish to pursue you or your mom personally, but will settle for whatever they can get from the insurance companies.

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