How do I get reimbursed for my damaged Suburban?

My distant neighbor was not home, but their 14 year old was. He stole the keys to
a Ford Explorer and went joy riding with 2 of his friends. They were speeding,
and failed to make a turn onto my street, lost control and practically totaled my
parked unoccupied vehicle. Then according to neighbors, they fled on foot, to
be later apprehended by police. The owners insurance will not pay for the damages
because the child was not on the policy and they feel they are not liable. My
vehicle has approximately 10K damage to the rear. I live in Texas. so I’d like to
know how do I get reimbursed for my time, and damages. Plus I need a truck to
replace this one for my work. I was not home when the accident occured, but my
neighbors witnessed the scene for the police.

Asked on February 23, 2016 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You sue the boy's parents: parents or legal guardians are liable or responsible for the wrongful acts of their children. Even if their insurer will not voluntarily pay you, the parents have to pay if you sue them and win--and based on what you write, you seem to have a strong cause, since the boy was unquestionably at fault. If you sue, you can recover the then-curren fair market (or blue book) value of your vehicle; the cost to rent a replacement for a reasonable period of time, until you can (or reasonably should be able to) buy another; and possibly, if you can't work without a truck, some amount of lost wages, again, until your could reasonably have a chance to purchase a new one.

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