Daughter allowed her friend to drive my vehicle and she crashed it.

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Daughter allowed her friend to drive my vehicle and she crashed it.

I gave permission to drive my car and in turn she allowed her friend to drive the car. Her friend crashed the car resulting in the car being totaled. To not get the girl in trouble I told my insurance company that I gave her permission thinking the mother of the driver would help pay the remains of my loan after the insurance paid. I owe another $6200 on the car and the girl and her mother say they don’t have to pay. Can I take her to court to pay for some or all of the loan?

Asked on July 9, 2018 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can the friend for the value of the car (the then-current or "blue book" value), to the extent that it was not paid by the insurer. (E.g. say the car was then worth $10k; if you received nothing from the insurer, you could sue for all $10k; if you received $8k, you could sue for $2k; if you received all but, say, a $500 deductible, you could sue for the $500; etc.). You can't sue for the balance on the loan--the law does not care about what you paid for the car, what you still owe on the car, etc.; that is not the measure of compensation. Rather, compensation is based on the value of the thing (the car) destroyed (totalled) at the time it was destroyed.
This is why, if you finance a car it is a good idea to buy "GAP" insurance to cover the amount you will still owe on the loan.


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