Skip to main content

If there is more than one owner of a vehicle are both liable for damages in auto accident with considerable personal injury?

Agoura Hills, CA |

Defendant's Answers to Interrogatories stated there was another owner. Now my attorney's office tells me that the insurance company is saying another person was listed erroneously and that the other person who owns the car is a lienholder. I don't trust I am getting truthful information. What documents should I be asking to see? I do not plan on trusting any kind of hearsay as the insurance company's opposing counsel is looking out for the protection of their defendant and not me. How are the following documents obtained: 1) Registration with DMV; 2) Certificate of Title document? What about sales doc & loan contract? Have I left anything out that should be searched? Is it worth doing insurance search at ML Research company for insurance policies on both of these owners?

Importantly, in the State of California can a lien holder be held liable for personal injuries whereas the insured driver does not have enough coverage for my injuries and losses? Must they be listed on the registration in order to be liable? My medical losses are still ongoing as I was just notified by my spine doctor, I may require a surgery for a synovial cyst of the lumbar spine that has developed due to the accident. I had MRI one month after accident and it didn't show any facet cyst, had another MRI recently due to a lot of ongoing pain, and now it does 1.5 years later. Spine doctor tells me it was caused by the impact. I was hit hard and at high speed from behind. 100% fault of other driver. Not sure my legal case is being properly handled.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6


DMV or Lexis search is easy.


You have an attorney -- you should rely on your attorney. An owner of an automobile is only responsible for up to $15K for personal injury damages, $5K for property damage, except under very limited circumstances which your question does not implicate. A claim in excess of those limits is against the driver, not the owners.

If the owners have insurance, they will have at least these minimum limits. You gain nothing by your efforts. You could prove 100 owners and the results would be the same; the maximum liability for all is the same as liability for one.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice or counsel. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice and counsel must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice and counsel during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice or counsel in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for advice and counsel. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

Michael Raymond Daymude

Michael Raymond Daymude


The lienholder is not responsible for any portion of your damages. Only registered owners can be held accountable. If you have adequate underinsured motorist coverage, that is where you should turn to for compensation in excess of minimum limits.

Wendy Ha Chau

Wendy Ha Chau


Agree with Mr. Daymude.


You can sue the drivers and owners of a vehicle involved in a crash.

Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at


I share Mr. Daymude's views; you need to trust your attorney to do this work. If you don' trust your attorney, I'd encourage you to find one that you do trust. Insurance companies are experts at clouding the issues and hiding facts that don't favor them: you need someone with matching expertise on your side. This is especially so where there is subtle medical evidence like in your case.


Mr. Daymude hit the nail on the head. Talk to your attorney. As far as owners' liability, unless there is a basis to hold them vicariously liable as an employer or liable for negligently entrusting the driver with the vehicle, the owners' will have limited liability as provided in the vehicle code (limit of $15,000). ML Research provides policy limit information. ML Research is helpful, but not as reliable as the interrogatory answers regarding insurance and the policy declaration page that your attorney will get in discovery. Your attomey can request vehicle ownership information from the DMV as well to confirm who was the registered owner on the date of the collision.

Marc Lazarus


Potentially as a permissive user or negligent entrustment. Check into all possibilities.

DISCLAIMER: The information gathered from this website, Tryk Law or Benjamin P. Tryk is not legal advice. If you are in search of legal advice, you should consult with an attorney about your specific situation. Communicating with Tryk Law, Accident Injury Attorneys through the use of this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship. You should not disclose any information that you consider confidential until an attorney/client relationship has been created.

Get Avvo’s 3-part personal injury email series

A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.

Personal injury topics

Recommended articles about Personal injury

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer