Am I liable for damages to a car if I was forced to move it in order to assist someone in exiting the property?

I live in a fraternity house. We have a parking lot with many cars so there are instances every day where a car is “parked in”. In order to gain access to that car you have to move the car blocking it. I moved my friend’s car and let the person driving the desired get out and then I moved the car back. When doing this, I scraped the left side of the car and created a small inward dent. My friend did not directly give me permission to use his car to move it, but it is implied that anyone can move any car if it is blocking a car of desire.

Asked on November 13, 2013 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Even if you had permission (implied or otherwise), if you were at fault in damaging another's car which you were driving, you are liable (or responsible) for the damages (e.g. the cost to repair). If you struck a stationary object (e.g. fence, wall, house, pole, parked car, tree, etc.) and thereby caused the scrape, you would be deemed at fault (it is negligent, or careless, to strike a non-moving object) and therefore liable for the damage.


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