My mother was driving my car and ran a stop sign, and was hit by another vehicle. The police cited her for failing to stop, and she is "at fault". My car does not have insurance right now. She does not have car insurance either. My car was towed to a local body shop, and my mother was uninjured. I do not know if the other vehicle was damaged (my mom doesn't think so) but the other driver did go to the ER just to be checked out. The police took her license and my registration, but didn't ask her anything about insurance. She has no idea if they ran it or not. Am I liable for the damages to the other person's car or is she? Will I get in trouble for not having insurance since I wasn't driving (or even there)?
You are both responsible for the other persons damages. Your mother is responsible because she was the one driving. You are responsible because you are the owner. Florida follows the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine which makes the vehicle owner responsible for injuries resulting from it's use.
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You and your mother can both be held responsible for the other person's damages, however, most of the time attorneys won't pursue the personal assets of an uninsured driver/owner. Most do not have attachable assets anyway. That doesn't mean it won't happen, though. As you are a Florida resident, if the other driver was also, their Florida No Fault coverage will pay their medical expenses at 80% minimum up to $10,000 and hopefully they have collision coverage. If you receive a notice (letter) from any attorney for the other driver, just be truthful, that you were uninsured. And you should renew your insurance as soon as possible.
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My expectation is that your mother and you will probably face some law suit. I would think both of you liable. Herfor her actions and you for letting her drive. Next question is what happens if you are sued and do not pay any damages awarded. In CA, you would have your license suspended.
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In Florida, as the owner of the car you are responsible for the harm as a vehicle is a dangerous instrumentality.
You are likely both liable. If sued, a local lawyer can be retained to defend.
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First, please go buy insurance ASAP - as long as you allow your car to be driven, the rest of us are counting on you to be insured.
Second, yes potentially you and your mom are liable for any damages.
Lastly, if you can afford it, hire a lawyer immediately. Otherwise, answer all questions honestly and in a timely fashion if asked.
Florida mandates property damage liability insurance. You as the owner of the vehicle and your mother, as the driver, will share equal responsibility for all damages caused, including personal injury to the other driver.
I suggest that you speak with an independent insurance agent and obtain insurance for your vehicle as soon as possible. You should carry just not the mandated minimum, but also bodily injury liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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