Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. I let someoneI didn’t know borrow my car to run to the store, and the person never came back.

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Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. I let someoneI didn’t know borrow my car to run to the store, and the person never came back.

I let someone whom I only know by their first name only use my vehicle to run a small errand,. The person never brought my car back. The car has been reported as an unauthorized use. Do I continue to insure the car? Am I responsible for parking tickets, or anything that can happen to the vehicle while it is not in my possession? When can the police turn this into a STOLEN vehicle report? Am I liable for the life of the vehicle? The car has been missing for a week, and I am unable to locate the person who is driving it.

Asked on April 22, 2009 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Reporting the incident to the police was a right move indeed, as such has signified your sincerity and clean intent. But that does not automatically relieve you from possible liability that might arise as a consequence. In your case, there is a strong presumption and expression of consent because you voluntarily handed the key/s over to the person to run an errand for you. Also, there is negligence on your part because you entrusted your vehicle even you don’t know that person fully-well. Therefore, you may become fully or partly responsible.

I suggest you follow-up the case with the local police. You can ask them to issue a stolen vehicle-alert at a proper time. As soon as they have your vehicle back, you would know what you are ought to be facing. Then, consult your lawyer at once.


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