If I scratch someone’s vehicle am I obligated to pay for the entire vehicle being repainted or just the part I damaged?

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If I scratch someone’s vehicle am I obligated to pay for the entire vehicle being repainted or just the part I damaged?

Just last week I was moving my roommate’s motorcycle and dropped it on our neighbor’s car, scratching the bumper. My insurance won’t cover it because I was not driving my vehicle and I don’t want my roommate involved seeing as how it was not his fault. So I offered to pay out of pocket for the damages but my neighbor feels that because his car will be discolored and his bumper won’t match after being damaged that I should pay for the entire car to be repainted. If my neighbor were to take me to court, would I be obligated to pay for the entire car to be repainted or just the part I damaged?

Asked on May 4, 2018 under Accident Law, Idaho

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your neighbor must mitigate (minimize) damages which means that you are only liable for the cost of repairs to the bumper.  You are not liable for the cost of painting the entire car. 
If your neighbor fails to mitigate damages, his damages will be reduced accordingly.


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