If I agreed to make payments to split the cost on damage to a car but the owner traded the car in, do I still have to make payments?

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If I agreed to make payments to split the cost on damage to a car but the owner traded the car in, do I still have to make payments?

I agreed to drive a friend home in her car after she had too much to drink and, because of weather conditions. I was unable to avoid hitting a truck. I agreed to split the cost of damage with her then later found out that she did not have insurance. I signed a paper that she typed up agreeing to the costs of damage. She then traded the car in and got a used car. She claims that because she still owes money on the damaged car that she traded in, that I still have to make payments for the damage. I was under the impression that I was helping to pay to get the car fixed and she no longer has it.

Asked on April 2, 2012 under Accident Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You would be liable for paying your portion of the auto repairs as per the agreement even though the car was traded in.  You would be liable for those repairs because if your friend paid for all of the repairs before trading the car in, she is out your unpaid share of the repairs.  If she didn't get the car repaired before trading it in, she got less value for the trade than she would have received if you had paid your share of the repairs.

If she had insurance, the insurance company wouldn't pay for the repairs because you were at fault in the accident and she was the registered owner of the vehicle.

Since she doesn't have insurance, she could be sued by the registered owner of the truck you hit.  If that happens, she could sue you for the amount of a judgment against her.

If the registered owner of the truck had uninsured motorist coverage, the truck owner's insurance company will pay for the repairs to the truck, but the insurance company will then sue your friend for the cost of repairs to the truck.


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