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Non permissive use issue

by Angela D
(Indianapolis, Indiana)

My daughters father and I have not been together for 13 years. My daughter has a valid driver license and her father lived about 45 minutes away, and I let her drive our old old car to go see her dad.

While she was at her dads and she was sleeping, he took the keys to the car and ended up buying drugs and shooting up drugs in the car and then nodding off while at the wheel.

The vehicle he hit was a parked and unoccupied enterprise rental. My insurance company has denied the claim, but now the person who rented the vehicle, her insurance company is pursuing my husband and I since we are the owners of the vehicle. Can this really be happening like this??

We were not the driver of the vehicle, I tried to report the vehicle stolen, but the state where I live stated that when the vehicle is with my daughter at her father's house, it automatically becomes her father's property.

Now I am really confused!!


Hello Angela,

I am sorry to hear about this situation. This is a rather complex situation and you should probably talk to an attorney in your local area.

For what I understand, you are not personally liable unless you loan the car to him, knowing what he was going to do with it (making you negligent). If you have not a reasonable believe that this would occur.

In some states, not sure what yours does, there are different rules about imply consent and how permission can be transferred to another party. You can give consent to your daughter and she can give permission to her dad. This would "imply" consent from you to him.

Other states imply consent only on the first permitee, meaning that you can give consent to your daugher, she can give consent to him and you would be liable. However, if he gives consent again, then liability would be caught at that point.

Also, some states consider leaving the keys accessible as giving permission, so the fact that he took the keys without express permission might not necessarily imply that there was not permission.

Again, you may want to a lawyer.

Good Luck,

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