In September, I sold my car to my sister. When I got the title signed and I took the insurance off the car my sister said she already had her own insurance on the car. A month later, she was in a car accident that was her fault. However, I received a letter stating that I will be sued for the accident because my name somehow came up on the vin# of the car. Is there anything I can do to prevent getting sued?
If you did not register the new title with the DMV, you are probably still the registered owner of the vehicle. Since the insurance follows the car and not the driver, you are most likely the one liable as the primary insurance and your sister secondary, if she indeed had insurance.
As a general rule, you would not be held liable for any damages arising from this vehicle wreck involving your sister. Your sister, on the other hand, would be liable for damages provided she was negligent in some way and did cause the wreck. You generally cannot be held liable for the negligence of other adults. You should send a letter back to the claimant setting out that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle and that you were not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the collision. If the claimant does file a lawsuit, you should file an answer, move for dismissal and ask for costs. As always, you may want to consult an attorney and go through the specific facts of your situation and make sure there is no theory of liability where you could be held liable. There are certain situations where a person can be held liable for the negligence of others but from what you have presented here, it does not appear that would be the case in your situation.
If you got the title signed and reported the sale to the Department of Licensing, then it should be no problem.
Although it's been quite a while since I researched this question I believe if you can show a signed and dated title that predates the accident you should be okay.
Establish that you were not the true owner of the car at the time of the wreck.
The question is not whether your name as ID with a vin number. The question is who owns the car and who was driving. The owner and the driver are liable for most purposes not you as a previous owner.
Nothing will prevent the suit if they want to file it. However, you should forward a copy of the notice of sale to the plaintiffs and warn them of a possible frivolous lawsuit.
Send a copy of the bill of sale to the lawyer who sent you the letter, informing him (or her) that you were not the title owner on the date of the accident, and that you cancelled your insurance on the car when you sold it.
You should contact your State's motor vehicles agency to determine if its records reflect title and possession of the car in your sister's name, especially during the date of the accident. If not, you should see that those records are corrected by providing the necessary documentation. Additionally, you may want to retain a defendant's accident attorney for specific advice and direction regarding any pending litigation for an accident caused by your sister.
I do not think however is threatening to sue you would have a case against you, but if they want to sue you, you cannot stop them. An attorney may be able to get the case thrown out before it goes to trial.
You can certainly do something to prevent this. Though you have to know what is the theory of liability against you.
If you didn't own the car on the date of the accident then you're not responsible.
Furnish other side with your insurance carrier information then get ready to hire an attorney to defend you if your carrier denies the claim and the other side sues you and your sister.
You are not legally liable for any damages caused by your sister. You should send a letter to whomever wrote you the letter explaining that you were not driving the vehicle nor in the vehicle at the time of the wreck. Even if you owned the car at the time of the wreck you legally would not be liable for the acts of your sister. You may need to contact a lawyer if they continue to threaten you.
Answer the letter. Explain that you did not own the car at that time. If you have any documents to prove it, provide copies.
If your title was transferred to your sister on DMV records you have no liability as the former owner. Send letter writer a copy of the title transfer. That should end it. If title not validly transferred you could be liable up to $15,000 if your sister cannot cover the damages.
Turn it over to your insurance company. They have to defend you even though you have no liability.
Just because some one files suit does not mean that you owe some one money. If you have a recorded transfer of title pre accident, send copy, with certified postage, to attorney representing the victim. Call your carrier and explain the situation.
There is nothing you can do in preventing to be sued.
Yes. It is the driver who is at fault when a collision occurs, not the owner of the car.
If you sold the car, you should have a bill of sale indicating the date you sold the car. If you receive any correspondence regarding the accident, you will need to have the bill of sale to prove you did not own the car at the time of the accident.
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