If I had a friend who was driving my car home and accidentally hit a small tree in my neighborhood, who is liable for the damage to the tree?

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If I had a friend who was driving my car home and accidentally hit a small tree in my neighborhood, who is liable for the damage to the tree?

The police arrived and asked him to take a breathalyzer and he blew right at the limit of being legally intoxicated. He was arrested but in court it was dropped to a non-alchoholic offence (careless driving). The association sent me a letter saying that I am liable for the tree that was damaged because it was my car and if I don’t pay them $1100, they would sue me. Who is liable, me or the driver who was arrested?

Asked on August 19, 2015 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are liable for the damage to the tree because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.
You can sue the driver of your vehicle for negligence to recover the amount of the judgment against you.
As for the association's case against you, it would be advisable to refer the matter to your auto insurance company for handling of the case.


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