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    tigersheart's Avatar
    tigersheart Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 9, 2006, 07:46 AM
    Auto accident fiasco
    i am writing because a friend here at work just came to me with a BIG problem and we don't even know where she should begin to seek help!

    here's the deal in a nutshell: she had a van in her garage for a year that wasn't running well. in december a friend came to her because he had no vehicle and no way to get to work. she "sold" him the van, meaning, she let him have it and told him he could make payments when he got some money together. no transfer of title and the vehicle did not have insurance.

    this week she gets a letter saying her vehicle was involved in an accident. she called because she thought it was a mistake (she was thinking of the van she drives now, not the one she gave away!), and she found out it was the old van and it was in a really really bad accident. she called the guy she gave the van to and he said he didn't want to alarm her so he never told her the van was stolen! i do believe, though, that they have the man in custody who stole the van and was driving it at the time of the accident.

    how much trouble is my co-worker in and what steps should she take to minimize her trouble, if that is even possible???? HELP!!! we would so appreciate any advice/information/help anyone can give because she's not exactly in a position to pay for/hire a lawyer. she is a single mom with young kids!

    thank you very much!!!
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Feb 9, 2006, 07:56 AM

    1. Does she have a bill of sale, a paper that says she sold this van to the other person. Does not matter if he changed the title, as long as she has a bill of sale. Most states require that auto sales can only be done in writing. So if this was a hand shake deal odds are that her state will decide she is still the legal owner. With a bill of sale, she may still have to go to court if she is sued, but she can prove she did not own it any longer.

    2. stolen Van, that is easy, get a copy of the police report this "friend" filed when the van was stolen. If he did not call the police when the van was "stolen" I would have to ask why? If he filed a police report, get a copy of it, if he did not file get him to tell you why.

    OK, if he did not do a bill of sale, get him to write out a complete letter and have it notorised stating that he did buy the van on so and so date, that he was to pay so and so. And telling that it was stolen and so on.

    So if she has a bill of sale, if there was a police report and it appears they have arrested the person who stole the van, this is where you are at

    a. you can prove you did not own the van and had no control over who was driving it.

    If you don't have the bill of sale, even if it is stolen, the other driver can still come after the owner of the van for damages, they may or may not win, but you would end up going to court and need an attorney.

    If it turns out there is no bill of sale, there is no police report, then the court could try and say that you had just let someone use the van, thus be liable for everything.

    I would make sure I had everything in writing from this friend as to his side of the story, I also would like to see him make this statement as to his owning the van and it being stolen in a police report or at least in a suppliment to the accident report.

    And unless someone sues you, there is no need for an attorney.
    fredg's Avatar
    fredg Posts: 4,926, Reputation: 674
    Ultra Member

    Feb 9, 2006, 10:43 AM
    You said the title is still in your friend's name. That means that anything that happens with it is her responsibility. By now, you both know that she should NOT have let this Van leave her property with anyone, without having the title changed, and a payment paper drawn up, with showing payments are being made.
    Your friend needs a lawyer, to help with this. Talk with the Police department, about the wreck, to see if she is responsible for paying for anything that happened.

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