Can I hold the owner of a vehicle that was driven by another person responsible for damages done to our property which totaled over $10,000?

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Can I hold the owner of a vehicle that was driven by another person responsible for damages done to our property which totaled over $10,000?

The vehicle had no insurance and the driver was arrested and given only 75 days in jail and not even ordered to pay restitution for the damages. We sent a certified letter to the owner for payment of the damages but the address on the police report was incorrect as the letter came back. I have found another address for this person but what are my legal rights? What is the statue of limitations?

Asked on May 13, 2014 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The owner of a vehicle is liable for damage done by someone who drove his/her vehicle if--

1) The person had permission to drive (e.g. was not stolen or otherwise taken without permission), since someone is not liable for the actions of someone that they had no control over (particularly if that person broke the law); and

2) The driver was at fault in some way, such as by driving negligently or carelessly (if the driver was not at fault, no liability).

The statute of limitations in your state is 2 years from date of accident.

Of course, if the car had no insurance, that's probeably because the owner has little or no money--you might sue him or her and win and still not recover anything.


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