Can I sue someone for totaling my car in the amount I owed on the vehicle at the time of the accident?

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Can I sue someone for totaling my car in the amount I owed on the vehicle at the time of the accident?

A few months ago some friends and I were at a bar. One of my friends had my keys from going to my car earlier in the night to get his wallet, when we went to leave he refused to give them to me insisting that he was going to drive .I could tell he was a lot more intoxicated than I was so I argued with him trying to get my keys back. After several minutes arguing back and forth he finally just said “Get in the car or I’m leaving you” and then walked out of the bar. Next, I made the worst decision of my life and just got in the car. He flipped us 6 times totaling my car.

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry to hear about this.  The short answer is yes, you can sue your friend.  You need to consider whether or not you truly want to sue a friend and if you did obtain a judgment against your friend, does your friend have the means to pay that judgment.  You also need to consider that proceeding with formal litigation is expensive and time consuming.   Have you considered establishing a claim with your auto insurance and having them reimburse you for your vehicle? This is probably the easiest and fastest way to be compensated for your car.  Normally, you can only expect to recover the blue book value of your vehicle, not what you still owe.  


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