First, we are sincerlely sorry for your accident and hopefully the passenger is not seriously injured. As a defense attorney, we can tell you 100k in indemnity insurance goes al ong way in an litigation defense. So, don't worry yet.
As expressed by the others, both co-owners are vicariously liable for the driver, but the insurance will kick in coverage and defense of the co-owner (pending a few exceptions under the policy exclusion endorsements). Secondly, the co-owner is only liablie in California up to $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurance per the Vehicle Code. Again, with a few exceptions. Usually, we can demand a dismissal for the co-owner becuae if you are responsible and solvent enough to pay $15k, then the co-owner would have zero liablity. Sometimes this is done by a statutory offer to compriomise in excess of the limits of $15k. There are again exceptions (eg. Co-owner negligently entrusted you to maintain and drive the vehicle, you are a minor, etc.). But, they are often rare especially based on the insurance limits. As stated by the others, tender defense for both of you and ask your carreir to defend the co-owner, but tender to all carriers. But, not to worry at this point. This s why we all purchase insurance. Fyi, if this passenger is not a relative, and in your car, they may have full coverage under a Med Pay policy as well (additional insurance-check your policy). I encourage our clients to increase Med Pay coverage as somtimes this avoids a passenger suing you, or alternatlively putting your passenger is a tough place (no health insurance, and must hire an attorney).
Tim Broussard, Esq
This email does not create an Attorney-Client relationship.
in California the insurance follows the vehicle first, so if you and another owner were co-owners of a car that was driven by someone at fault in an accident, you are both responsible along with the driver. Hope you have enough insurance to cover the losses? If not, the driver's policy would kick in, if they are someone other than one of the owners, assuming they have insurance? Beyond that, you may have coverage from an umbrella policy or if you were using the vehilce in connection with your employer's work at the time, the employer's policy coverage could some into play? Always carry enough insurance to protect your assets and carry lots of under and uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself in the event you are involved with an underinsured or uninsured driver!
Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.
First, you should contact your insurance immediately, and give them notice of the incident. Delay could lead the insurer to deny coverage. Your insurance company should assign an adjuster and defense lawyer to you that should answer questions about your coverage. If coverage issues arise, you need your own private attorney to represent YOUR interests. The insurance should cover this incident and protect you and the co-owner. If, for example, there was no insurance, a co-owner that is not driving or otherwise negligent for the incident, is usually liable only up to $15,000.00.
Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes. You both have potential liability. Report this to your insurance carrier immediately as failure to do so could lead to potential denial of coverage.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery. Any testimonials or endorsements should not be construed as a guarantee, warranty or prediction of the outcome of your case.
Yes, you are both on the hook, but your insurance coverage isn't too bad, so unless the injuries were very serious, it sounds like you should be fine.
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Question is not clear. Each owner can be sued for an accident. There is statutory liability for an owner in Calif when the driver is driving with the permission of the owner. that liability is 15k per person 30k per accident and 5 k for proerty damage. A permissive owner can be sued for negligent entrustment or other direct negligence (eg letting someone drive car when they knew the brakes were bad, etc.). Wjhen there is direct negligence, there is no max cap on damages.
Your passenger can collect from any medical payment coverage on your car, to pay medical bills. Your policy may allow for a credit against the liability coverage for any medical payment made.
If the passenger has medi-cal or medi care and they pay bills, they have a right to seek damages from you or to claim a lien from the passenger's recovery of damages from you. Your ins co should answer questions from you, and appoint a lawyer to defend you if you are sued. You can pay to consult with an tty of your own if you wish.
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