If someone is responbsible for a total loss on your car, can they be legally responsible for payback of the loss?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If someone is responbsible for a total loss on your car, can they be legally responsible for payback of the loss?

My friend hit someone in the back and total loss my car that I only had liability insurance on I wanted to settle out of court but the process is along to long so I’m thinking of legal action.

Asked on September 9, 2017 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If someone is at fault in damaging or destroying your car, they are liable, or responsible, for the lesser of the cost to repair or the car's then-current fair market (or "blue book") value. If your friend was driving your car and hit another person from behind, which is what your question seems to indicate, then your friend was the at-fault and legally liable person; he is the one responsible for your loss. (The person hit from behind would not be liable; the law makes the rear drive in a collision like this liable, since he/she should have maintained a safe following distance and speed and been paying attention, so he could stop in time.) You friend would be  one who owes you compensation, and if he will not pay it voluntarily, you could sue him for the money.

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