Student hit a car with a rock

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Student hit a car with a rock

The other day one of my students hit a parent’s car with a rock by accident. I am a high school literature teacher and we were outside demonstrating weapons used in The Book of Judith. One of my students was using a sling and the aim was the school’s pond but of course the last student of the day dinged a fender. We had permission from the school to be out there doing this activity, of course. To avoid a big show in the parking lot, I offered to take care of it, if necessary. Today I met the parent again and she gave me an $800 quote for a centimeter sized ding in the fender. I asked her if she went through insurance yet, and she claims her insurance will raise her premium, so she refuses to. I also made it apparent that I am more than capable to fix the dent I work on cars on the side and have painted a few cars myself. She’ll have to talk to her husband.

Well, given worst case scenario, what do I need to be prepared for? To be

completely honest, it is impossible for me to afford or justify 800 on what I

know is not that expensive of a fix, but that’s beside the point.

Thanks.

Asked on November 10, 2016 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may be liable for the damage, because it was negligent or careless of you to let students use a difficult to use weapon near other people's property (or other people)--the likelihood of some student misfiring and hitting a car, a window, another student, etc. with a rock was high enough that having them do this was likely negligent. 
If you are liable, they have the right to get the reasonable cost of the repair from you (and you have the right to make them prove the reasonable cost, such as with estimates or proposals); they do not have to go through their insurer for the damage (the law never requires someone to submit an insurance claim) and they do not have to let you personally make the repair. If you do not pay the reasonable cost to repair, they could sue you with a high probability of winning.


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