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  1. #1

    Default Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Washington

    This question is coming from a 3rd party, me, as I was not involved just looking for some advice.

    My niece was involved in a vehicle collision. It was deemed her fault, she t boned another vehicle and totaled the vehicle out. The vehicle she was driving had no insurance coverage on it whatsoever. This vehicle is/was owned by her mother, my sister.

    Fast forward, the other vehicle's insurance deemed the their vehicle totaled also. Now their insurance company is coming after my sister and niece, rightfully so. My question, would my sister be responsible for paying the replacement cost ($16k) of the other vehicle of my niece who was driving the vehicle? My sister was not in the vehicle, only my niece.

    If I'm leaving any needed information out, I can do my best to answer.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Probably both will be sued Jointly, as there was no Insurance to pay out. The owner may also be charged criminally with letting the daughter drive the car for such as "wrongful entrustment", permitting someone to drive a car with no insurance.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    How old was your niece at the time of the accident? When your sister gave her daughter permission to drive the vehicle, was she aware that there was no proper insurance?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    would my sister be responsible for paying the replacement cost ($16k) of the other vehicle of my niece who was driving the vehicle? My sister was not in the vehicle, only my niece.
    Depends on your niece's age.

    If she was under 18 at the time of the accident the parent would not be responsible unless your niece's act was willful and malicious. If it was willful and malicious the parent would only be liable up to $5000.

    https://law.justia.com/codes/washing...tion-4.24.190/

    Your niece, at any age would, of course be liable for the total amount of the claim due to her own negligence. And may also have other penalties exacted, like loss of driving privileges, trashed credit, wage garnishment, etc.

    As for "negligent entrustment" on the part of the parent, I disagree with the other response as the lack of insurance is not an element of "negligent entrustment" in Washington state.

    “A person entrusting a vehicle to another may be liable under a theory of
    negligent entrustment only if that person knew, or should have known in the exercise of
    ordinary care, that the person to whom the vehicle was entrusted is reckless, heedless,
    or incompetent.”
    Weber v Budget Truck Rental citing Mejia v Ervin:

    https://cases.justia.com/washington/...?ts=1323968161

    The burden of proof would have to be on the insurance company making the claim.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    As for "negligent entrustment" on the part of the parent, I disagree with the other response as the lack of insurance is not an element of "negligent entrustment" in Washington state.
    That is for Civil liability, I said "Criminal". Ohio has such a law, that was my basis. Reading through the RCW, I can't find any law that specifically permits such a charge? Seems odd. If it is against the law for the owner not to have insurance, one would think they could not entrust that car to another? Maybe some type of inchoate offense?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Yes, Ohio does have such a law but it's not "negligent entrustment" it's "wrongful entrustment."

    https://law.justia.com/codes/ohio/20...tion-4511.203/

    Allowing a person to drive your car knowing there is no insurance on it is an unclassified misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $1000, no jail, and up to 500 hours of community service.

    There is nothing comparable in the Washington criminal code.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    My niece was 16 years of age. But her legal guardian is not her mother, it is her grandmother. Not sure if that matters. My sister and niece did not share the same address either.

    If the insurance company is calling to harass my sister, threatening garnishment against her checks, is there a case or something she should tell them in reference that would make them stop to reexamine?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    My niece was 16 years of age. But her legal guardian is not her mother, it is her grandmother.
    I don't want to go too far down a rabbit hole, but why is that the case?


    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    If the insurance company is calling to harass my sister, threatening garnishment against her checks, is there a case or something she should tell them in reference that would make them stop to reexamine?
    Citing cases isn't going to serve any good purpose (even if the case is directly on point). Telling the insurer that her grandmother is the legal guardian might be a good idea. She can also ignore the demands.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    This would go down a rabbit hole as far as the legal custodian. Since this accident my niece has become an emancipated minor. I don't know if that would bear any change of the results as this happened after the collision.

    Should I, in that case, notify her grandmother that legal recourse could possibly headed that way against her (the grandmother)?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Does Owner or Driver Pay Car Accident Damage

    Quote Quoting spokanedriver
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    Should I, in that case, notify her grandmother that legal recourse could possibly headed that way against her (the grandmother)?
    There's no compelling reason for you to do anything, and this is a question about personal relationships, not the law. Is the grandmother in question your and your sister's mother or the child's father's mother? If the former, then I'm guessing the relationship between your sister and your mother isn't very good. If that's the case but your relationship with your mother is good, then I can think of no reason not to give her a heads-up.

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