What will happen if a former roommate used my car without my knowledge and got into an accident that caused property damage?

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What will happen if a former roommate used my car without my knowledge and got into an accident that caused property damage?

The person that she hits insurance company contacted me and said because they can’t contact the individual (roommate) that caused the accident, they are coming after me (the registered owner). They saod that I would be responsible for paying for the damage. What do I do?

Asked on April 1, 2013 under Accident Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Only if the roommate essentially stole your car would you have grounds to avoid liability. The owner of a car is responsible for all uses by permitted drivers--that includes if the driver who had the accident generally had permission to use the car, even if she did not specifically have permission this time. Therefore, if the roommate truly did not have permission to driver your car, you may wish to report that she had stolen it (though it may be too late, at this point, to do so--reporting a theft months later may lead everyone to conclude it was not actually a theft but simply an attempt to avoid liability). Also, if you know how to contact her, you could pass that information on; and if you do end up having to pay anything, you could in turn sue her to recover the money.


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