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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Owner's Liability For Accident by Uninsured, Unlicensed Driver

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

    I was rear-ended by an 18 yr. old girl on the expressway about 2 weeks ago, who has no license and no insurance. She was cited for those things as well as "failure to control speed" in the police report. The accident involved three cars. Hers, mine, and due to the impact when she hit me, I ended up swiping the back corner of the car in the lane to the right of us. The girl and I both were taken to the hospital ER by ambulance. The passengers in the car in the other lane were ok (minor damage since I was quite a distance from them when she slammed into me). My car was totalled. The trunk was literally under the backseat and my passenger side front end was smashed by the impact of hitting the other car. I only had the required liability insurance on my car as mandated by Texas law, so my insurance will not cover anything. (I have health insurance through work, so that will help some with my medical expenses, but not all.) The driver of the car in the other lane I hit due to the impact, had full coverage on her car, so I'm guessing her insurance is paying for her repairs.

    Now the "gray" area I can't get a straight answer on: she is not the legal owner of the car she was driving. A man was selling the car to her husband (young like her...MAYBE 21), and was allowing him to make monthly payments with the stipulation that he kept up the insurance. Of course, they didn't. I don't know how many more payments they had, but the car was listed in the accident report as belonging to this man's mother. I spoke with a lawyer, but once they found out the girl had no insurance, they dismissed it and told me to try small claims court since this girl doesn't have money or insurance. I'm at a loss as what to do next. The girl that caused the accident obviously doesn't have money to pay for my car, expenses, etc., and without any liability insurance, I'm pretty much screwed according to this lawyer I spoke with. I admit I was stupid for not having more insurance on my car and won't ever be in this situation again (advice to drop everything but liability for an older car wasn't so good as it turns out, but hindsight is always 20/20).

    In a nutshell, I'm wondering if the legal titled owner of the vehicle has any liability in this case? Is my recourse limited to suing the 18 yr. old girl who doesn't have the money to cover ANY of my expenses in small claims court? That seems pretty futile given the circumstances. Appreciate any advice in how to proceed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Owner's Liability For Accident by Uninsured, Unlicensed Driver

    You could try going after the title owner for negligent entrustment, but for that you typically must prove that they had reason to know that the person to whom they entrusted the vehicle was a substandard driver (a unlicensed, incompetent, or reckless driver) and knew or should have known the driver to be substandard. You may also have to prove that the sale was not valid so as to sever the title owner's liability even without the transfer of title.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Owner's Liability For Accident by Uninsured, Unlicensed Driver

    You can sue them both in small claims and see what happens. You took a risk and lost. Estimates are that almost one in four vehicles on the road are uninsured or underinsured.

    In many states UM is compulsory but my understanding is that in TX it is optional. Double check your policy to be sure you were offered and refused UM. UM and UIM is fairly cheap and should always be purchased.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Owner's Liability For Accident by Uninsured, Unlicensed Driver

    Thank you for the replies. I found this article on the website, so will look into this route as a possibility. Again, appreciate the responses.

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