Can I sue for property damage to my car if I lent it to friend and she totals it?

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2014

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Can I sue for property damage to my car if I lent it to friend and she totals it?

I lent friend car, within 15 minutes she gets in accident and insurance deems it totaled. I have a car note on the car, so the money for damages from insurance goes straight to bank where I got loan from, leaving $0 to pay from repairs to car, or to get a new car. Police report claims she is not at fault, so she feels absolved of any financial obligation and decides to walk away. Can I sue her for property damage even if I gave her permission to drive it? Can I sue her for the amount it costs to pay for the damages, or at least for the amount that I put as a down payment on the car?

Asked on December 3, 2014 under Accident Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Since the police report says that  your friend was not at fault in the accident, your claim should be against the party who was at fault.  Your friend is not liable for the accident.

You can reject the settlement offer from the at-fault party's insurance carrier that the car was totaled, and sue the at-fault party for negligence to recover compensation for the property damage (cost of repairs) to your car.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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