Liability of automobile owner for accidend caused by someone driving the car WITHOUT permission

5 posts in this topic

In California, is the owner of an automobile liable for damages caused by someone driving the car without the owner's permission?

Depends on the circumstances.

Example: Someone hotwires the car, drives off and causes an accident. Owner obviously not responsible.

Example: Member of household (or guest) picks up keys from the table, drives off causes an accident, has been known by the owner to have done this in the past but owner failed to secure the keys. Owner might be responsible.

We need a lot more detail to make any kind of useful comment.

And, by the way, if the owner turns out not to be responsible it doesn't prevent somebody from suing the owner anyway, which is a good reason to have insurance.

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The first response obviously doesn't address the question asked (unless the intent was to imply that the answer can never be yes, in which case it is wrong). I agree with the second response that the answer is "maybe" and that anything more specific requires some factual details.

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