I got a flat tire while using a friend’s car

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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I got a flat tire while using a friend’s car

While using a friend’s car I got a flat tire on the day that I was returning it. When I meet up with the friend to return it, I offered $200 for the tire but my offer was denied. I am now receiving threatening letters and texts stating they will be taking me to small claims for the mounting of the tire and the rim. I have received messages starting that it was a total of $500 and another stating $275. My girlfriend is also receiving letters and messages regarding this matter, which has become harassing. The moral here is that it’s not necessarily about the tire, it’s about the simple fact I no longer want to have a relationship with this person.

Asked on October 2, 2019 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are only liable to pay if you were at fault in causing the flat tire: e.g. drove over obvious debris; ran into a curb and popped it; drove too fast on bad terrain or a damaged/rough road; etc. You are NOT responsible for the cost of a tire if you had nothing to do with the flat: simply driving their car does not make you liable for any repairs, etc. (unless you had agreed, before and as a condition of, borrowing it to pay all such costs). Therefore, there is no particular reason, unless you believe you were at fault, to believe that you'd have to pay; even if your "friend" were to sue you (e.g. in small claims court), you'd only have to pay if he can convince the court you were in fact at fault.

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