Santa Ana, CA asked in Car Accidents, Contracts, Insurance Bad Faith and Insurance Defense for California

Q: I received a letter from a insurance company that said i owed $4,000 dollars in damages from a car that was a trade in

this transaction was in 2012. what do i need to show that i do not own that car?

2 Lawyer Answers

William John Light

  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You should have filed a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability with DMV when you traded in the vehicle.

However, the question is not what you need to prove that you don't own the car, but what the insurer/plaintiff needs to do to prove that you do own it. I would question it in writing how it intends to prove your ownership of a vehicle that you sold in 2012. The plaintiff has the burden of proof, not you. I would give it any copies of your trade in paperwork from 2012.

It is possible that you are still a registered owner, if the Notice of Transfer was not filed, although that seems unlikely. If the auto dealer was supposed to handle all of this, you may have a claim against it to indemnify you for any liability based upon your continued ownership.

Dale S. Gribow

  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: more info needed

did you correctly transfer title? did you file with DMV of the sale?

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