If you lend a friend your car and it got stolen while it was in their procession, is the friend obligated to help with the damages to the car?

I let my friend hold my car while I was at work. My friend went to the store left my car running and somebody hoped in and stole my car. The police were called and my insurance company was notified of the thief. My car had been missing for approximately 3 weeks. While my car was missing I had to pay out of pocket for a rental, because I didn’t have rental on my insurance. And that was $968. The detective recovered the car with minimal damages. The adjuster from my insurance said the damages

was worth about $1000 in which I would have to pay my deductible of $500. Can I sue my friend for reimbursment of my expenses? They are acting so nonchalant about the whole situation and feel like they shouldn’t help me with the extra money I’m spending on when this whole situation wasn’t my fault?

Asked on March 7, 2017 under Accident Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to successfully sue your friend: leaving a car unattended while it is running is unreasonably careless, or negligent, and that negligence can make potentially make him liable for all your out of pocket (not paid by insurance) costs and losses resulting from his carelessness. For the amount at stake, suing in small claims court, on a "pro se" (acting as your own attorney) basis is a good idea.

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