Can I sue an unauthorized driver for damaging my car?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue an unauthorized driver for damaging my car?

My car was taken out my driveway while I was sleeping, so I had no knowledge that it was gone until I was woken up and told that the driver had been in an accident and my car was totaled.

Asked on April 9, 2017 under Accident Law, Missouri


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the unauthorized driver for conversion which is theft in a civil case.  Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit would be the value of your car.  You can enforce a court judgment against the unauthorized driver with a wage garnishment.
Unfortunately, since you are the registered owner of the vehicle, you are liable for the accident caused by the unauthorized driver.  You can recover a judgment against you regarding property damage to the other car or personal injury claims of the occupants of the other vehicle not at fault in the accident, in your lawsuit against the unauthorized driver of 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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