Can I take the person who hit my car to small claims for car payments?

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Can I take the person who hit my car to small claims for car payments?

So my parked car was hit in a parking lot. The driver ran, but police caught up to him. He was charged with DUI, reckless driving, hit and run, and an expired tag. My car has been in the repair shop for two months. Can I take him to small claims court for the two months of car payments, since I have not been driving my car, but have obviously been paying for it?

Asked on July 5, 2019 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, he is not liable for the car payments: he is only liable for the damage (for any repair costs, etc. not paid by insurance, such as your deductible). A driver who is at fault in damaging your car is only liable for the reasonably foreseeable costs. Repair costs are reasonably foreseeable. But your auto payments are not, because 1) it's not a given that you have payments--you may have bought the car for cash or have finished making all payments (many people do not have payments after all); 2) the extent or size of payments is not in any way foreseeable, since that depends on whether you had a trade in, how much you put down, etc; and 3) the length of time your car will be in the shop, and so the number of payments you have to make, is also not foreseeable. Therefore, since auto payments are not foreseeable, they do not have to compensate you for them.


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