is my daughter at fault for her friends car?

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is my daughter at fault for her friends car?

My daughter was sitting in the
passenger seat of her friends car
and another friend backed the car
up. Well the passenger side door
hit a bank.now the owner is trying
to sue my daughter. Can she do
that? The other friend backed the
car up because she was impaired.
she also asked him to. So is my
daughter at fault?

Asked on October 4, 2016 under Accident Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your daughter would only be liable, or responsible to pay, if she was at fault in causing damage. If the door was shut, she would not be liable: while they could try to sue your daughter (or you, if she is a minor, since the parents or legal guardians of minors are responsible for the damage they do) if your daughter (or you) won't pay voluntarily--you *only* have to pay if you are sued and lose--they would be very unlikely to win, since it is nearly impossible to see how your daughter, sitting there in the passenger seat, could be at fault if  the door were closed.
However, if your daughter had the door open when the car backed up, she might be at fault: it can be negligent, or careless, to leave a door open while a car is in motion. If your daughter reasonably could or should have shut the door but did not, and that is the reason the door hit the bank and was damaged, then yes, it may have been her fault, and if sued, she could lose and be forced to pay. Therefore, if she did have the door open, she may want to consider trying to settle the case for an amount she can and is willing to pay.


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