Posted on: 18 October 2017
It happens more often than it probably should. A person sells a vehicle to another individual, and some time later the seller receives a notice that the car or truck was involved in an accident. This occurs because the new owner failed to register the vehicle in his or her name, so the old owner is being held liable for the incident. If this has happened to you, here is what you can do to extricate yourself.
Submit a Copy of the Paperwork
The easiest way out of this situation is to present a copy of the bill of sale, the signed title, and/or the DMV notification of sale to whichever agency is reaching out to you about the accident (usually the DMV). The paperwork should note the name of the person who bought the vehicle and the date the vehicle was sold. As long as it's clear the vehicle was sold prior to the accident, you should be able to avoid being held liable for paying damages to any injured people.
It's important that you contact your insurance company and send it the paperwork as well. There's a high chance anyone else involved in the accident will submit a claim against your policy, and your insurance company will need that information to justify denying it.
Provide Circumstantial Proof of Sale
Unfortunately, most people who find themselves in this situation don't have the right paperwork showing they sold the vehicles to other people. It will make it significantly more difficult—but not impossible—to extricate yourself from this situation if this is the case for you.
The best thing you can do is provide as much information about the new owner to the DMV and your insurance company as you possibly can. For instance, give them the person's name, address, and phone number if you have it. The DMV may or may not change the information on the registration, depending on what other evidence you supply to the agency.
However, your insurance company will typically conduct an investigation, and what it uncovers may help you get out of the jam you're in. For instance, if the insurance company can get the other person to admit he or she purchased the vehicle from you, it may be enough to get the DMV to change the paperwork.
Other pieces of evidence that may support your claim you sold the vehicle include the vehicle's tags, any emails or messages from the other person confirming the sale, eye witness testimony to the transaction.
If you're not able to absolve yourself of responsibility, it may be possible to go after the person who caused the accident and obtain compensation for any money you paid out. It's best to consult with an attorney about this possibility.Share