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Joint ownership of motor vehicles - Don't!

The owner of a car (or other motor vehicle) is liable for any injuries caused by the negligent operation of that car by anyone driving the vehicle with the owner’s consent or knowledge. Consent is presumed if a car is being driven by an immediate family member. Cars should not be jointly owned for this reason because it exposes all the joint owners to potential liability. Instead, the car should be titled only to the driver who uses it the most. The car the husband drives most often should be titled to him only. Same for the car the wife drives most often – it should be titled to her. If the husband is involved in an accident driving a car titled only to him, only the husband is likely to be a defendant in a lawsuit arising out of the accident. If the husband is involved in an accident driving a car titled only to him and his wife, the husband as driver, husband as owner and wife as owner are all likely to be defendants in a lawsuit (even if the wife was not in the car!). This separate titling of cars is especially important to protect the joint assets of a husband and wife like their home and bank accounts from potential liability arising from use of their cars. These joint assets may otherwise be exempt from lawsuit judgment. Of course carry appropriate insurance per your insurance agent’s recommendation.

Categories: Insurance


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