Hoopeston, IL asked in Criminal Law and Car Accidents for Illinois

Q: is grandaughter liable for half of accident.

her insurance does not want to pay 22,000.00,because her boyfriend was not on insurance.the insurance for damaged car wants work out deal for 11,000.00 an keep her out of court and they sue ex boyfriend for the other 11,000.00.they want 3,500.00 down an 250.00 a month until payed. does that sound fair.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: If your granddaughter had insurance on her car, any licensed driver who she permitted to drive her car is automatically covered under her policy unless that person was expressly excluded from coverage. Therefore, what you are saying does not make any sense unless your granddaughter was foolish enough to purchase insurance from a substandard carrier that is denying her claim because they deny all claims OR the boyfriend did not have a valid driver's license.

If your granddaughter paid her insurance premiums and her boyfriend had a valid driver's license, why on earth would your granddaughter agree to pay anything, beyond her deductible to her own carrier?

You have not provided any of the facts of the case. If the boyfriend was driving and his negligence caused the accident, only the boyfriend is liable to the other driver unless the boyfriend was driving somewhere on your granddaughter's specific instruction or for her specific benefit (e.g. she sent him to the store to get something for her). Just because your granddaughter owns the car, she is not necessarily liable for injury or damage caused by her boyfriend.

If we change the facts and assume that her boyfriend has a bad driving record OR her boyfriend does not have a valid driver's license, then your granddaughter can be held liable under the theory of negligent entrustment. In other words, she is responsible because she negligently entrusted a car to someone who did not have a license and/or had a bad driving record. If that is the case, your granddaughter and her boyfriend have what is called Joint and several liability. If the damage was $22,000, the other insurance company can collect the entire $22,000 from whichever person is most likely to be able to pay it. If your granddaughter's boyfriend is not employed or works in a "cash" industry, the insurance company has no way of collecting from him. Moreover, if his driver's license was suspended at the time (which it probably was), he has no incentive to voluntarily make payments. Once it is determined who owes this money, that person's driver's license will be suspended unless that person makes regular payments to the insurance company.

So, please understand that it is not possible to tell you whether your granddaughter paying $11,000 is fair without considering whether she can be held responsible. If your granddaughter can be held responsible for the entire $22,000 under a theory of negligent entrustment and if the insurance company is willing to execute a release that states they have agreed to accept the sum of $11,000 as full and final payment from your granddaughter, then it is absolutely fair. If she pays money before there is a signed agreement, the only thing that would prevent the insurance company from collecting the entire $22,000 from your granddaughter would be payments made by her boyfriend. If her boyfriend makes payments totaling $2000, the insurance company can collect the remaining $20,000 from your granddaughter but they cannot collect more than a total of $22,000 from your granddaughter and her boyfriend.

However, if the boyfriend was driving to get something for himself or was using the car to go to work AND if your granddaughter had paid her insurance premium and she was truly was unaware that her boyfriend did not have a valid driver's license, she may be able to avoid liability, altogether. In that case, the proposed agreement would be absolutely unfair. Much will depend upon how long your granddaughter and her boyfriend were together. The longer they were together, the more difficult it will be for your granddaughter to credibly argue that she did not know her boyfriend did not have a valid driver's license.

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