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My boyfriend's being sued for an accident he wasn't in.

Sacramento, CA |

My boyfriends'a brother was in a car accident a couple months ago while he was on the job delivering pizza. The car he drove only had liability coverage. Now the victims insurance company is suing my boyfriend and his mother for 42 thousand dollars because they are the registered owners of the car even though they were not in the accident. The victim was driving without a drivers license. What's the best thing to do? He has 30 days to respond. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!

Attorney Answers 8

  1. He needs to let his insurance carrier know about this immediately!! They will provide a lawyer at their cost for his defense.

    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.

  2. Immedaitely turn the matter over to your insurance company. The will provide you with an attorney and defend you up to the limits of your coverage. Make sure you let them know your brother was making a pizza delivery, as the pizza establishent will be liable for the injuries and damages caused by your brother. This will take extremely limit your and your grandmother's potential exposure. Keep in mind that as the registered owners, you and your grandmother have some exposure but your liability is limited by statute. Best of luck!

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  3. Turn it over to the insurance company. They'll provide a lawyer do defend the claims, and a separate lawyer if there's any chance that the award will exceed policy limits.

    On that note, it is unusual that a claim against a vehicle owner exceeds policy limits. Unless the owner of a vehicle does something wrong (for example, entrusting the car to someone the owner knows shouldn't be driving), liability is capped by statute at $15,000. And every liability policy issued in California is for at least that amount.

  4. They don't have to be in the accident to have liability. Discuss this with the insurer of the boyfriend's vehicle to see how they plan on handling the subrogation claim. Advise them of the facts , but keep in mind that coverage could be an issue if the brother was not an authorized driver, or that he was excluded as a pizza delivery driver. There may be coverage through the pizza company. Consult a local insurance defense attorney to assist you before making any statements to the insurance companies.

  5. Do not speak with the anyone until you discuss this case with a lawyer in your area. If the car was being used for business purposes, your insurance company may refuse to provide coverage, and your personal assets could be at risk. You need someone to deal with that danger and make sure that if it happens, the pizza parlor's insurance company steps in to provide coverage.

  6. He can turn it over to his insurance carrier to defend

  7. Question is unclear. The victim was unlicensed? Who is the victim? Do you mean your boyfriend's brother was unlicensed? If so, bf and mother could have unlimited exposure due to negligent entrustment of car to unlicensed driver. If bf and mom were not negligent somehow, then their liability is limited to 15k per person for injury and 5k property damage, as registered owners.
    You dont say what the ins co is suing for. Is it for property damage?
    If bf and mom have ins, turn lawsuit over to them immediately and let them know the date they were served.