If my buddy crashed my brand new motorcycle and I don’t have insurance on the bike yet since it is brand new, am I able to sue if he does not pay?

We didn’t call the police, so there is no police report.

Asked on October 19, 2015 under Accident Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your friend for the cost to repair the motorcycle or for its then-current fair market value which, even if it was brand new, will still be less than what you paid for it, since vehicles depreciate instantly once purchased IF he was at fault in causing the crash. So if he was driving negligently or carelessly e.g. speedng driving recklessly DUI etc., he would likely be liable but if the crash was not his fault e.g. a car nearly hit him, and he had to dump the bike to avoid being it a tire blew out etc., he would not be liable for the damage, since liability, or the obligation to pay, is based on being at fault.

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