Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

Auto accident

My son was in an accident, he hit a man driving a company truck but was ''off the clock''. My son is 21, works, and goes to school. He is still living with us, his parents. We carry him on our Auto insurence policy. At the time of the accident the man he hit was offered medical attention but declined. The Insurence Co. covered the repair of both trucks. Now the man is claiming neck and back injuries and has hired an attorney and is sueing my husband and I. Hes asking more than our liability. We were no where even near the accident as it was 400 miles from home, and my son is 21 yrs old. Can he sue us just because we are the main policy holders? My son is NOT listed on the deed to our house or any mortages, taxes, ect relating to it. The only thing my son owns is his truck. How am I responsabl for anything that excedes our libilty since I wasn't involved in the accident? Shouldent he be sueing my son?The suit does not list our son. I'm concerned about losing our home. If he does sue our son is it possable for him to get a judgement agnist our house just because my son lives here? Thanks. L

Asked on 8/14/08, 4:06 pm

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4 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen
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Re: Auto accident

Tender the lawsuit to your insurance company, and let it worry about it, including whether the supposed injuries are real. You should not be held liable since your son was driving his own vehicle. The insurance company's lawyer should be able to extricate you and your husband from the lawsuit.

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8/15/08, 3:27 pm
Stephen Petix Quinton & Petix
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Re: Auto accident

As Mr. Cohen has correctly stated, under your auto insurance policy, you are entitled to have your insurance company provide you with a lawyer to defend you in the case, so you should notify your insurer as soon as possible. Even if the amount sought by the plaintiff in the suit exceeds your policy limits, you are entitled to this legal representation by an attorney designated by your insurance company.

Since you say that your son was on your policy, presumably as a covered "insured," your son would also be entitled to the same legal representation/defense, assuming the complaint is later amended to name him as the defendant.

From the facts you provide, you should not be held liable for your son's accident. You say that the truck your son was driving was owned by his employer (presumably not you or your husband), so there is no legal basis to sue you as the owner of a vehicle involved in the accident. That would also rule out a claim of negligent entrustment of a vehicle. Unless your son was running an errand on your behalf or at your specific bidding, you should be clear of responsibility.

But I would agree that you should let your insurance company's lawyer worry about the liability issues. Notify the insurance co. right away.

Since your son is an adult, and not a co-owner of any of your property, any judgment against him should not reach your home.

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8/15/08, 4:51 pm
Daniel Bakondi The Law Office of Daniel Bakondi
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Re: Auto accident

Some attorney can do anything they want - as long as they can get away with it. They may try to hold you responsible even if it is improper and even if the law says they cannot. If you do not have a good attorney, why shouldn't they try? If you want to retain me, give me a call.

IMPORTANT:

No attorney-client nor confidential relationship is created through this communication. You may not rely in any way on this attorney, or any communication from this attorney, and nothing constitutes legal advice nor legal opinion. Your issue may be time sensitive and may result in loss of rights if you do not obtain an attorney immediately.

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8/15/08, 5:53 pm
Daniel King Law Offices of Daniel King
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Re: Auto accident

Your liability exposure is limited to an owner's liability pursuant to the California Vehicle Code. Not to worry.

Moreover, your insurance carrier has to give you a defense, and will pay up to your liability exposure limits unless there is some reason for terminating the coverage.

Call if you like to discuss.

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8/15/08, 7:31 pm

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