If my ex-husband’s mother was driving his car and totaled it but she used my name, what are my rights?

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If my ex-husband’s mother was driving his car and totaled it but she used my name, what are my rights?

Now I want to renew my insurance and the insurance company that we share but are on separate policies, wants to raise my rate from $400 to $1,800. They told me they are investigating. Is there anything legally I can do as far as suing my ex and his mother? I have had my own separate policy for the last 3 years; the accident was last year. I have lived in another state for 11 years.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your liability question relating to your potential raise in insurance premiums due to another driver’s at-fault accident under your insurance.  There are several factors to consider with regard to your question.  Usually, when someone else is driving your vehicle, they have been given the insured driver’s permission, and if an accident occurs while they are using the vehicle, the insurance company will pay for the damages caused by the accident.  Since your insurance company paid for the accident, and you allowed the driver to use your vehicle, the insurance company will treat the accident for insurance purposes as if you were driving the vehicle.  This may reflect in your change in premiums.  Sometimes your insurance company, after paying the damages of the accident, will collect against the driver’s insurance company, so that your insurance company does not pay for a driver that is not a named insured. 

In your situation, you are dealing largely with a fraudulent act.  If your ex-mother-in-law used your name when she was in an accident, then this is fraud.  It is difficult to imagine that she was even capable of doing this, since at some point in the process she should have shown some form of identification.  Also, if you have a separate plan, how did she have the information for the insurance company to be contacted under your policy?  Usually when an accident occurs, an insurance company is obligated to speak with the named insured on the policy before making any payments for damage from the accident.  If they never spoke with you, then you may have some issues to take up with your insurance company. 

If your insurance company does not cooperate with you, then you may want to contact your state’s insurance commissioner and notify them of the incident.  Additionally, you may want to contact an attorney in your area that handles insurance litigation to further assist you. 

 

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your liability question relating to your potential raise in insurance premiums due to another driver’s at-fault accident under your insurance.  There are several factors to consider with regard to your question.  Usually, when someone else is driving your vehicle, they have been given the insured driver’s permission, and if an accident occurs while they are using the vehicle, the insurance company will pay for the damages caused by the accident.  Since your insurance company paid for the accident, and you allowed the driver to use your vehicle, the insurance company will treat the accident for insurance purposes as if you were driving the vehicle.  This may reflect in your change in premiums.  Sometimes your insurance company, after paying the damages of the accident, will collect against the driver’s insurance company, so that your insurance company does not pay for a driver that is not a named insured. 

In your situation, you are dealing largely with a fraudulent act.  If your ex-mother-in-law used your name when she was in an accident, then this is fraud.  It is difficult to imagine that she was even capable of doing this, since at some point in the process she should have shown some form of identification.  Also, if you have a separate plan, how did she have the information for the insurance company to be contacted under your policy?  Usually when an accident occurs, an insurance company is obligated to speak with the named insured on the policy before making any payments for damage from the accident.  If they never spoke with you, then you may have some issues to take up with your insurance company. 

If your insurance company does not cooperate with you, then you may want to contact your state’s insurance commissioner and notify them of the incident.  Additionally, you may want to contact an attorney in your area that handles insurance litigation to further assist you. 

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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