Who’s responsible for a minor accident if it was insisted that you use another’s car?

I care for 9 year old twin boys. I normally take them to activities using my own vehicle. On a recent day I was asked to take on the

care of another child. One of the twins had a music lesson. I told the mom that I couldn’t fit 3 kids in my car. She told me to use their family car. While leaving the parking area, I scraped a post. It left a rather large scrape on the car. I immediately informed the family. The father insists the damages are my responsibility. I believe I was placed in a no win situation. Their son had a music lesson and my car cannot accomadate 3 children. I informed them before the lesson that my car was too small.

Asked on August 25, 2016 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Since you were the one driving when the accident occurred, you should bear liability for it. It was your choice to drive the vehicle; you were no under obligation to do so. Accordingly, as the responsible party you should pay for the damages. While seemingly unfair since you were doing this person a favor, you should settle with them otherwise you could end up being sued in small claims court. This brings to mind the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished".

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You were the at-fault driver--scraping a stationary object is negligent, or careless, so that is why you were at-fault in causing the damage. As the at-fault driver, you are responsible. Regardless of whether you are asked or even told to use their car, you were the one who hit that post--that makes you legally responsible.


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