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If you let someone else drive your car and they have an at-fault accident can that person be held responsible for the damages?

Saint Louis, MO |

I rented a car and because I had had something to drink let another sober licensed driver drive it . That person ran a stop sign while they were texting and hit another car . The driver of the other car sued me and won . The rental car company is threatening legal action against me because the driver who caused the accident was not on the rental policy . Can I take any legal action against that driver ?

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Attorney answers 6


You may be able to. Consult with local counsel experienced and qualified in personal injury law.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


Its possible. consult a local attorney for advice on this.


If you were held "vicariously liable" for the driver, meaning a statute held you responsible for the acts of the driver, you should be able to sue for "indemnity" (full reimbursement of the judgment against you). If you were held at fault because of some act of negligence on your part (ie- you negligently entrusted the vehicle to someone you should not have let drive), then you might be able to sue your driver for "contribution" (that portion or percentage of fault that driver is found to be the cause of the accident, compared to the percentage attributed to you). Consult with a local attorney to determine your rights in either scenario, particularly if the judgment against you is substantial.


Let me preface this by saying I handle car accident cases in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding suburbs. For more specific information, you should contact a local lawyer. In fact, I urge you to contact a local lawyer because your question raises to many issues to be dealt with in this forum.
First, why would the driver of the other car sue you and not your driver. Your driver was responsible for the accident, and at least in Pennsylvania, on the facts you gave, you were not responsible.
Second, did you have your own automobile insurance, and if so, did you turn the claim over to them. If this accident happened in Pennsylvania, any insurance you might have been eligible for from the car rental company would not apply, since you left an unauthorized person driving the car. However, your insurance could have provided a defense for you, since you are not responsible for the accident.
Third, you don't explain what the rental car company is threatening you about. Did they pay something to the other driver? Are they threatening to sue you for the damage to the rental vehicle?
As you can see, your question raises more questions that cannot be answered on this forum. I suggest you turn this into your auto insurance company carrier and contact a local attorney.


You can pursue a claim against the driver of your rental for reimbursement. Retain lawyer in your state for representation.

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Yes, but the insurance company should have covered him as a permissive driver and defend you.

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