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So what if the recipient of your munificence manages to get into an auto accident? And what if someone else gets hurt or killed as a result? Are you going to be held responsible?

The answer is as predictable as it is annoying: it depends.

In Nevada, if the driver is a member of your immediate family, and you gave permission for him or her to drive your car, then you can be held liable for the consequences of the accident. So if you lend your car to:

  • your dear brother who was trying to see if your car could break 120 on I-15
  • your teenage daughter who was putting on makeup and didn’t see the light turn red
  • your father who insists there’s nothing wrong with his eyesight even though he never saw that motorcycle stopped in front of him

you expose yourself to being named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit.

But if you loaned your car to your lowlife cousin who was just running up to the corner store to get a pack of smokes but decided to chase down a driver who looked at him wrong and accidentally sideswiped a busload of nuns on their way to feed the homeless, you’re off the hook.

One other thing: if the person who was behind the wheel of your car in a wreck just "assumed" that you would say yes when asked to borrow the vehicle and then proceeded to "borrow" your car without your "knowledge," then you probably won’t be held responsible. This is a legal concept known as permissive use. In other words, if you didn’t give permission, then you aren’t held liable for the consequences.

So if your reprobate roommate decides to swipe your keys while you’re in the bathroom, and drive your car to the under-21 club to hit on college freshmen, but rear-ends the Caddy of a mob boss and gives his wife whiplash – he, not you, will be held responsible for (every single one of) the consequences.

Contact Naqvi Injury Law for more information.