Determining liability in a car accident situation can be difficult, especially when it is unclear whether the owner or the driver should be held responsible for the damages incurred. If you find yourself in a situation where it is unclear who should be held liable for any injuries or damages caused in a car accident, it’s essential to contact an experienced lawyer for a car accident as soon as possible. Here at Sette Law Office, our Sacramento, California, personal injury attorneys will carefully analyze the facts of your case to determine who is at fault and who should be held liable for the accident in question.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call Sette Law today.

Joint And Several Liability Under California Law

For anyone looking to file a car accident claim in California, it’s important to understand the difference between joint and several liability and what these concepts mean for car accident cases. Under joint and several liability, the law determines which defendants can be held responsible for the damages caused by the accident. In some situations, multiple parties can be held jointly liable for any damages incurred from a car accident. Be sure to discuss how joint and several liability may impact your claim with your Sette Law attorney during your consultation.

Permissive Use In California

There are various types of permissive use in California that car owners must be aware of to understand their rights and responsibilities. Under the Permissive Use rule, vehicle owners could be deemed liable when they granted permission to another person to drive their vehicle. 

California Vehicle Code 17150

Under California Vehicle Code 17150, this statute states: “Every owner of a motor vehicle is liable and responsible for death or injury to person or property resulting from driver negligence or wrongful act or omission in the operation of the motor vehicle, in the business of the owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of the owner.”

As such, this statute holds the owner of the vehicle liable for any damage sustained by the negligent use of the vehicle. 

California Insurance Policy Apply To The Vehicle, Not The Driver

Under California law, every legal driver must be capable of displaying evidence of insurance. However, the owner’s insurance will cover the vehicle as opposed to the driver, which means that in the event of a car accident, the owner’s car insurance will cover the crash regardless of whether someone else was driving the vehicle. 

Car Owners Liability Is Limited

If you are a car owner in California, you should understand what your liability may be and what your insurance policies cover. Liability for car owners in California is limited to the following amounts:

  • $15,000 per person
  • $30,000 per accident for injury
  • $5,000 for property damage
  • No imputed liability for punitive damages

If you are confused by any aspect of your liability as a vehicle owner, our experienced car accident attorneys at Sette Law can help explain any discrepancies that may help you better understand your liabilities. 

Can An Owner Be Fully Liable Even If They Weren’t Driving?

Regardless of whether the vehicle owner was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, there are certain situations in which they may still be held liable for any damage caused by their automobile. Some common situations in which an automobile owner may be liable for a car accident even though they were not driving include: 

  • They lent the car to an unlicensed driver
  • Knowingly lent the car even though it wasn’t safe to do so
  • The driver was an employee of the vehicle owner

You don’t pay unless you recover damages. Call Sette Law for a free consultation.

Can The Owner Of A Car Be Held Responsible If The Driver Did Not Have Permission To Drive The Vehicle?

Situations in which another driver has not been granted permission to use the car prior to causing an accident may be handled differently than situations in which the negligent driver had permission to drive. Our personal injury attorneys at Sette Law can explain your options should you find yourself in a situation where the driver did not have permission to use the vehicle and caused an accident.

If You Have Been Injured In A Car Accident, Call Sette Law Today

A car accident lawyer is working on paperwork at her desk. Next to her is the scales of justice and a gavel.

Call us if you or a loved one are involved in a Sacramento car accident. Consulting a car accident attorney early is critical. An attorney will offer the guidance you need to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for any damages incurred.

Through years of experience handling California car accident claims victims of car accident injuries have come to trust our personal injury attorneys. Our clients regularly express their gratitude for the responsiveness and compassionate energy of our Sacramento car accident legal team. 

Furthermore, the positive feedback regarding our Sacramento car accident and personal injury clients makes us proud to continue to offer our services to other victims. Our legal experience and expertise in the Sacramento community are second to none, and we highly recommend you contact our law firm to handle your case right away.


CA Veh Code § 17150.

Does insurance follow the car or the driver in California? (2023).

Financial Responsibility (Insurance).