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Can I be sued by the car's owner?

North Hollywood, CA |

I was involved in an accident while driving another person's car; he was the passenger in the car while I was driving and gave me permission. He now wants to sue me for damages to his car since he claims that both insurance companies found me at 100% fault (according to him, because I have not fully cooperated by answering their calls).

He had insurance but has an extremely high ($2000) deductible when anyone besides him is driving the car.

Any help would be appreciated.

We have not yet found out who the insurance companies say is at fault; however, I was rear-ended so it's pretty cut and dry. The police came but refused to do a report because there were no injuries. I have no policy at all for any car.

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Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes
Attorney answers 4

Best Answer
Posted

There are some open questions left by your post - it would be helpful for you to clarify. Do you contest that you were at fault? Who does the second insurance company cover, you or another driver? What happened in the accident? Did the police do a report and make a finding? Do you have your own policy for a car that you own? If you do, you need to tell them about the accident and ask them to defend you because yes, the owner can sue you for the deductible he had to cover.

Asker

Posted

We have not yet found out who the insurance companies say is at fault; however, I was rear-ended so it's pretty cut and dry. The police came but refused to do a report because there were no injuries. I have no policy at all for any car. Question for your response: Why is it that I'd be held responsible for HIS deductible?

David Lee Fiol

David Lee Fiol

Posted

Thank you for the additional information. Your liability would be based on your fault only - not simply because you were driving, so if you were rear-ended and you did not cut anyone off or do anything that might have contributed to the collision I can't see how you would be liable for any part of the damages, including the deductible. The insurance company that covered the passenger/owner also will cover you as a permissive driver if anyone in the other vehicle brings a claim against you, so ultimately it will be in your best interest to cooperate with them. It may pay for you to get a consult with a lawyer before doing so.

Asker

Posted

I was cooperating fully until he (the owner/passenger) wanted me to make false injury claims with the help of his attorney. So I stoped following the advice of his attorney; both are trying to make quick money. Would that be a good reason not to cooperate?

David Lee Fiol

David Lee Fiol

Posted

This may provide even more reason for you to speak to an attorney working solely for you. If you cannot afford one, keep in mind that one way or another you can be required to provide information about the accident, under subpoena if necessary. You can do that without assisting a fraud by simply telling the truth.

Posted

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that depending on the situation, if he sues you, it may be his own company that is defending and indemnifying you because you had permission to drive his car. The question here is really whether your own insurance, or his insurance, will cover it. California insurance regulation determines which insurance is primary, yours or his.

This is general advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

What if I don't have ANY insurance? He allowed me to drive home from work. He found out his deductible is $2000. I believe THAT is what he wants to sue me for or try to sue me for.

Posted

Go down to the police station and get a counter report. Report it to your insurance company to resolve.

Posted

First his insurance should cover you the permissive driver, just as they would cover the owner. If you are found at fault they should pay for the other vehicles damages. His vehicle should be covered under the collision coverage. However, it will seem reasonable if you were at fault you should pay the deductible. If the other vehicle is found at fault they should pay everything.

Asker

Posted

It does seem reasonable that if it was my fault, I should pay the deductible. However, could he potentially SUE me for the deductible, or is it more of a moral obligation than it is a legal obligation?

Richard Andrew Harting

Richard Andrew Harting

Posted

both