If my sister crashed an ATV that was not hers but which she was given permission to drive, what is her liability?

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If my sister crashed an ATV that was not hers but which she was given permission to drive, what is her liability?

The adult male that allowed my sister to drive it was giving alcohol to minors. (My sister being one of them) my sister was injured, and damage was done to the vehicle. He is now trying to make her pay the damages which are over $4000.

Asked on August 8, 2012 under Accident Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if your sister damaged another person's property through negligence or carelessness--such as driving while intoxicated, or just generally driving carelessly--she is liable for the damage. If she will not pay voluntarily, or work out some mutually agreeable settlement, he could sue her for the money.

Other factors at work here:

1) If he served your sister, a minor, alcohal, that factor--his own negligence or wrongdoing--could reduce what he could recover; in some cases, even eliminate it. However, there is no way to tell without much more detail what the effect would be. So this is in your sister's favor, but she should not count on it to exonerate her.

2) If your sister is a minor, it is her parents or legal guardian who will likely be liable for her accident.

With $4,000 at stake, your sister and her parents/legal guarandian(s) should consult with an attorney about this situation.


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