If I asked a friend to drive my car as we were traveling back home from out of state but she had an accident, can I hold her financially liable?

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If I asked a friend to drive my car as we were traveling back home from out of state but she had an accident, can I hold her financially liable?

She was at fault and hit a construction object; no other cars were involved. Is there anyway I can get money from her even though my car insurance will cover everything? My concern for my insurance rate will be high due to this incident.

Asked on July 8, 2015 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue your friend if she was at-fault, as you write she was, in damaging her car. However, you cannot get more in total--between her and any insurance payments--then the cost to repair your car (or its then-current fair market value, if it had to be totaled), plus out-of-pocket costs you had to pay (like towing or storage), plus lost wages. The law does not allow you to get more than the total cost of the accident, no matter how many different sources of payment the money comes from. You also cannot recover for furture increased insurance rates because those rates are too speculative (not knowing now what they will be) and too subject to change (they vary with where you live, your car, your driving record, even what insurer you use)--costs that are not sufficiently predictable and determinable cannot be recovered in a lawsuit.


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