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Is an automobile lien holder liable in an auto accident?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have a lien on someone's automobile. If that individual gets into an auto accident that is his fault and gets sued, could I in any way as the lien holder on the vehicle become liable for damages that occurred in the accident?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Generally, no. But you need to speak with an attorney in your jurisdiction, California. Each state treats the law of auto liability differently.

Usually the registered owner and driver have liability (depending on the state and circumstances, one will be primarily liable and the other secondary). Usually a lienholder is not liable, but you should check with a lawyer and find out if you are an additional insured on any insurance policies covering the car or driver.

The information provided herein is not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-cloient relationship exists as a result. Before relying on any advice, please consult an attorney.

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Posted

You say "generally" - would you please provide an example of a situation when a lien holder would be liable?

John Elliott Leighton

John Elliott Leighton

Posted

If the law ofa particular jurisdiction held that lienholders are legally liable under a dangerous instrumentality doctrine or similar theory, there might be liability. Again, I urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. These are highly specific to each state.

Posted

I am unaware of any instance where a lien holder can be responsible for liability solely due to an economic interest.

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Posted

Probably not, since you are not the owner of the vehicle and just maintain a lien on it. Contact a local lawyer to discuss with them. Good luck.

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Posted

So what you are saying is that even though you are a CA licensed attorney you have nothing of value to add to this topic. Thank you.

Posted

Probably not. You would have to either be the registered owner or the driver to be liable.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

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Posted

Why "probably not" - what are the exceptions? Thank you for your time.

Posted

Unless you are an owner, there would not be liability.

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