As a Dallas car accident attorney, I get calls from people getting sued for an accident involving a car that they sold. Sometimes the buyer doesn’t transfer the title. Mainly because they don’t want to pay the taxes and fees. Meanwhile, a title search shows the vehicle to be in your name.
It’s a Common Scenario….
You get call or letter from an insurance company or lawyer. They want to get paid back for a claim involving a car accident. The car accident was with a car that you used to own.
But you had sold it some time before the accident. The buyer never transferred the title. Now you are being pursued for the accident. Are you responsible.
The Simple Answer is “No.”
When you sell a car, you release all control of it. Therefore, you are not responsible for anything that happens after the car leaves your possession. But it’s not always that simple.
Be Prepared to Show Proof of the Sale.
Hopefully, you got a copy of a signed “bill of sale” and the title. Also, make sure you have the name, address, and contact information for the buyer. These items can help you prove when you sold the car.
Instead of a “bill of sale,” you can also use Texas Application for Title (Form 130-U), It has spaces where you would fill in the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the buyer and seller, vehicle information, price or the sale, date of the sale, etc.
Make sure you get a copy of the application form as well as a copy of the front and back of the signed title. It would also be good to get a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license or state-issued ID for further identification.
After the transaction is complete and the buyer leaves with the car, it would be smart to report the sale of the vehicle to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. There is a form you can use, or you can simply do it online. You can even get a copy of the online form and a receipt showing the date you reported the vehicle sale. All this information can be used to show proof of the sale.
Do Not Agree to Pay or Sign Any Agreement to Pay.
If you are contacted by an insurance company or their attorney, they will put a lot of pressure on you. They will even go so far as to say that you are responsible for the damages regardless of whether or not you sold the car. They will try to convince you that you are automatically responsible because the title is still in your name.
Don’t fall for it!!! But, most importantly, do not sign anything or agree to pay for the damages. If you do, then your agreement to pay may be enforced against you even if you are not legally responsible.
What if you can’t show proof of sale?
It still doesn’t mean you are responsible. However, the other party may not go away and leave you alone.
You have to picture yourself in court trying to convince a judge or jury that you sold the car.
If you have solid proof, then everything should be fine.