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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Attention vehicle owners

Dear Attorney Reyes,
Good day Attorney! A year ago I sold my old pick-up truck in Padre Burgos to a buyer from Tacloban City.
But, just recently the new owner was the cause of a vehicular accident that caused extensive damage to another vehicle.
I was surprised when the police informed me that I may be held liable for the damages caused by the vehicle, even if I have already sold the vehicle to another.
This is not fair, does the law say anything about this kind of situation?
-Vehicle Seller
Dear Mr. Vehicle Seller,
As the registered owner, your responsibility to your vehicle remains until such property has been completely transferred. The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner, so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicles on the public highways, responsibility can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner.
Under the “registered-owner rule”, the registered owner of a motor vehicle whose operation causes injury to another is generally legally liable to the latter.
There are many instances when after completing the sale of a vehicle, many sellers tend to move on and leave all the vehicle’s transfer paperwork to the buyer, who in-turn does not complete the registration of the vehicle under his name.
This decision by both parties may haunt them if and when the vehicle comes into an accident involving third persons or other vehicles, in which case the original owner, under the registered owner rule, is still primarily and directly liable for damages.
May this be a gentle reminder to all vehicle sellers and buyers. Make sure to transfer the registration of the vehicle to the rightful owner, to avoid you unnecessary expense and stress.
Sincerely, Atty. Ruevivar “Wowie” Reyes

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