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What can I do if someone is trying to go after the registered owner of a vehicle when the insurance was under my name?

Palmdale, CA |

I was in a car accident 1 yr . ago and was held liable . The other party involved settled with the insurance company for 15 , 000 but now is trying to go after me for 5 , 000 more with her attorney . Since I don't have the resources to pay her , they are now asking for my father , the registered owner , to fill out a Declaration of Assets . What can I do to protect myself and my fathers assets ? I also found it odd that me and the other person involved had the same insurance , and my adjuster also admitted that she believes they are just trying to go after more money for the sake of it . Could this benefit me ?

Attorney Answers 7


  1. Your insurance company should provide a defense. Cooperate with them. I don't see how an additional lawsuit against you or the circumstances could work to your favor. Your father may be liable under a 'negligent entrustment' theory. More likely than not this is what the other party will claim. best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  2. Let your carrier know of this stunt. Your carrier should beoth defend you and indemnify (pay for you) you under the terms of your insurance agreement. I don't understand how your dad is on the hook for anything.

    Best of luck to you!

    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.


  3. Under the California Vehicle Code, as the registered owner of the vehicle, your father could be held liable for up to $5,000 in property damages and $15,000 for the death of or injuries to one person (and a $30,000 maximum for the death of or injury to more than one person).


  4. Your insurance company will provide a lawyer to resolve this.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com


  5. If you had insurance, there is nothing the other driver can do for you. I am certain that the insurance company made the other driver sign a release that would cover you. Your father is another matter. As the register owner of the car, he may be exposed to the property damages limits. He needs to contact his own insurance company and you need to call yours. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.


  6. Who and who is not obviously liable for paying up when an accident happens is a completely different question than who's gonna get his or her butt sued... most of us personal injury types earn our money by working hard at getting the best recovery (read as in the most money) possible for our clients... such an endeavor involves making sure to go after anyone and everyone plus their insurance companies who has even a hint of liablity... while making absolutely sure not to cross the line into frivolous lawsuits or extortion, we will use all legal means to recover for our injured client(s). In a motor vehicle accident, most personal injuries immediately target the driver, the owner, and the employer of the driver as potential defendants. If the defendants want to argue among themselves, so be it, but if the accident is the fault of the driver, at least one of them will be found liable when the jury gives the verdict.

    As for someone facing liability for a motor vehicle accident, he or she should file a claim with his or her insurance company - if no insurance, he or she should hire a defense lawyer.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
    (951)520-9684
    www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com

    "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."

    * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
    ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com... "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW." ... * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy... ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.


  7. You post an interesting question. First, if your own insurance carrier settled the case with the other driver, before sending any payment to the driver, they insist that there is a signed release of all claims. This stops the other side dead in their tracks. You are no longer responsible for any more payment.

    Second, since your insurance already paid $15,000, it is very likely your father is no longer responsible for any additional payment (there is 1 exception that comes to mind: negligent entrustment, but that is very hard to prove). Under CA Veh. Code sec. 17151, an owner is responsible up to $15,000. However, if that has been paid, as it appears was done in your case, liability is capped. So no more money would need to be paid. And, again, if insurance made the payment, your father's name should be on the release.

    I suggest that you get a copy of the release from your own insurance company.