How do you sue someone for wrecking your car and not paying for it?

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How do you sue someone for wrecking your car and not paying for it?

My husband’s friend took his car, got in a wreck, didn’t have a license, and was at fault. How do we sue him for damages to the vehicle and for the insurance claim of the lady he hit (that my husband is getting charged for)? Shortly after the wreck (like a week or 2) this guy quit his job and moved out (was husband’s co-worker and was renting a room from us). We’re looking at almost $5000 for the lady’s insurer and $2000+ for our car.

Asked on March 21, 2011 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This person's liability and your husband's liability may be the same at this point based on a couple of facts missing from your question. If your husband willingly lent the car to his friend/tenant and knew this person did not have a driver's license, then your husband is looking at a legally enforceable claim against him for the $5,000.00 and he can then sue or cross claim to bring in this friend/tenant for all or a portion thereof, including the $2,000.00 in damages he suffered for the motor vehicle. If your husband knew this person had a history of wreckless driving (why he doesn't have a drivers license) and knew his keys were easily accessible, he could be held liable out of a theory of pure negligence. If this friend/tenant took the motor vehicle without your husband's permission, and if your husband called it in as a stolen car, your husband may have avoided liability. If your husband didn't call it in, hoping the friend/tenant would do the right thing, then the issue will be one brought up in court and your husband may still have to cross claim against the friend/tenant. If he quit his job and doesn't own any property, he may be judgment proof and you may need to be at the mercy of your motor vehicle insurance provider. It might be worth it to discuss whether or not the insurance company is hiring counsel to defend this case (I assume your insurance company has been named in a lawsuit or will be named shortly) and if so, you may get the benefit of counsel without having to pay for it.


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