Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

Civil Lawsuit due to Wrongful death in a accident

Back in January I got into a Car accident because my tire blew and I swerved into the opposite lane killing an older man on a motorcycle. I was not under the influence nor was it my fault. Now the family is sueing my Dad because it was his car and I was not covered on the insurance. My dad wants me to write a letter saying i stole the car (which i didnt i had permission) to clear his name. What can be the consequiences for me? If they sue me and i file bankruptcey what will happen. Can they criminally charge me when doing a civial suit?

Asked on 8/21/08, 4:13 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Re: Civil Lawsuit due to Wrongful death in a accident

Perjury carries serious punishments. So does "insurance fraud". So does admitting the crime of car theft. By the way you are 'at fault', you caused this, not the other driver.

You father's insurance company will defend him, and will pay up to the limit of his coverage and liability. Your insurance company will defend you if you had any insurance; if not, you face judgment as well that you might be able to bankrupt against.

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Answered on 8/22/08, 1:38 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Civil Lawsuit due to Wrongful death in a accident

The consequences for you can include being prosecuted and imprisoned for stealing the car, in addition to any punishment you may receive for the accident and for driving without insurance. You and your father could also end up being prosecuted and/or sued civilly for conspiracy and insurance fraud.

Whether to prosecute you for any of these things is the D.A.'s decision, not the victim's. The civil suit against you will have no bearing on whether you are charged criminally.

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Answered on 8/21/08, 4:30 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: Civil Lawsuit due to Wrongful death in a accident

Your father should tender the lawsuit to his insurance carrier. If you write something that says you "stole" the car, you might be on a lot shakier ground if you file a bankruptcy than if you had permission. You and/or your father might have a claim for indemnity against the tire manufacturer and/or installer. The family of the decedent also might bring them into a lawsuit.

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Answered on 8/21/08, 4:34 pm

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