If a 20 year old family friend took my rental car from my house without permission while I was at work and had a car accident,what’s going to happen to me?

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If a 20 year old family friend took my rental car from my house without permission while I was at work and had a car accident,what’s going to happen to me?

The friend was 20 years old.

Asked on January 18, 2019 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Have you filed a police report against your friend for theft? A person renting or leasing a car is not responsible for what a car thief does--but he or she is responsible for what anyone whom he or she lets drive the car does. If someone did not have your permission to take your car, they stole it; and conversely, if you don't report them for theft, they had your permission to use the car, even if you only gave them the permission after the fact. You can't have it both ways--either they had permission to use your car or they stole it. So if you don't want to be responsible for the damage to your car, you must treat this a car theft and credibly press charges against your friend. 
Alternately, you can chose to not threat this as theft but later sue sue your friend for any amounts you have to pay--but 1) you'll have to pay the money out yourself first and then try to get it back from your friend; and 2) it may be more than he or she has.


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