What can I do if my car was parked on the street the person who hit my car ran on foot and there is no insurance?

My car was parked on the street when he hit my car, he also hit another vehicle too he ran on foot. There was an open bottle of alcohol in his car and an axe that was found by the police. He was not the owner of the vehicle but he does live in the same house as the owner of the vehicle. The owner’s insurance company is telling us they can’t get a hold of the actual driver that hit the vehicle. Therefore we cannot get reimbursed for the damage on the car. I don’t have full coverage and I don’t know what to do at this point.

Asked on September 7, 2016 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The insurance company's opinion that they need the actual driver is just that: their opinon. It is not a legal or binding determination. Sue the car's owner for the damage: the owner of vehicle is liable for the damage done by people whom he lets use his car. If he let this person use the car this time, or has generally let the person use the car, so there is a pattern of the driver being able to take it, the owner will likely be liable. Only if the owner can prove in court that his roommate stole his car against his wishes will he not be liable--and to show that, he'd have to have filed a police  report for car theft, at a minimum.
You will also sue the driver as well, if you know his name (you obviously know his address)--he is liable too, for being at fault in damaging your car (it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to run into a stationary object, like a parked car). The more people you sue, the greater the likelihood of recovering money. 
When you sue the driver and the owner, the owner's insurer may then step in to settle the case; but even if they don't for some reason, you can get the money from the driver and owner, if they have money or jobs whose wages you can garnish.
If the cost to repair your damage is less than the limit for small claims court, probably the best idea is to sue in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") to save on legal expenses.


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