Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

My son rear ended a car on the freeway, there was not much damage, but the five people in the car are claiming back injuries. They do not want to settle with our insurance company and are suing. Can they sure my husband since he owns the policy or only my son?

Asked on 8/23/16, 11:54 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Unless your son was excluded on the policy, he likely was a permissive driver and your insurance carrier should hire a lawyer to defend all who are sued. Send them a copy of the summons and complaint and request in a short letter that they defend and indemnify all who are being sued.

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Answered on 8/23/16, 12:05 pm

While Mr. Cohen is correct, he doesn't seem to have answered your question. The answer is that injured parties in automobile cases can sue the driver and anyone listed as a registered owner of the vehicle. Who is named on the insurance policy does not affect who they can sue, only who owns the car and who was driving matter.

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Answered on 8/23/16, 12:32 pm
Gerald Dorfman Dorfman Law Office

The good news for your husband, assuming you are saying he is the car owner, is that in most situations, the owner is only liable for up to $30,000 in damages in a multiple injury case. Since that is the minimum amount of liability insurance, an owner will be fully covered for all damages based on simple ownership. Of course, there are other situations where an owner may be liable for more, such as when they negligently allow an unfit driver to use their car. While the insurance company will appoint a lawyer, your husband may find it worthwhile to have a consultation to see whether he should get a personal lawyer. The insurance company may end up paying for such an additional attorney.

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Answered on 8/23/16, 4:25 pm

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