Who Can I Sue if the Person that Crashed into me has No Money?

Why should a car accident victim have to pay for the costs of a car accident?  The answer is that the victim should not have to pay a single cent.  The person that caused the accident should be held accountable. 

The experienced Hudson car accident attorney knows that holding this person accountable is not always easy.  This is because the offending motorists might have no money and no assets from which the victim can collect compensation.  Attorneys call these types of people, “judgment proof”.  Winning a civil lawsuit against someone who is judgment proof will do little good to the victim.

If not from the driver, from whom can an injured motorist and or pedestrian collect compensation?  New York’s permissive use doctrine answers this perfectly.  Said doctrine is found in section 388 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.  It states,

“[E]very owner of a vehicle used or operated in this state shall be liable and responsible for death or injuries to person or property resulting from negligence in the use of operation of such vehicle, in the business of such owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such owner.”

This means that the owner of the vehicle can be held liable for the driver’s negligence behind the wheel.  Think about situations where a teen is using mom’s or dad’s car.  The teen might have little income and no assets, but the parents may have much, much more.  The same holds true when employees are driving the company car.  The company most likely has more money and assets as compared to the employee.

So long as the driver had permission to use the vehicle, the owner can be held liable.  Permission to use the vehicle can be expressly given.  For example, when mom says to child, “take the car to see grandma”.  Or permission can be implied.  Employees often have implied permission to use company vehicles.  The employer never expressly told the employee to take the car out, but completing his or her job functions requires using the company vehicle.  Additionally, permission can be implied if the owner knows someone is using the car and the owner does nothing to prevent the car’s use. 

Understanding from whom one should collect is important because the New York no fault laws and insurance companies may not compensate the victim for all damages.  The victim will then have to separately sue the driver and anyone else who can be held to pay. 

The experienced attorney will investigate not only into the matter of negligence, but also into the availability of potential sources of compensation. 

The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle car accident cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County.  Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents.  Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.