When you are involved in an auto accident, who should sue for property damages – the person who was driving the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle?

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When you are involved in an auto accident, who should sue for property damages – the person who was driving the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle?

I was driving my father’s car when I was involved in a car accident. Should I sue for property damages or should he. I am not going to sue for medical costs.

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were NOT at fault in the accident, then your father, the registered owner of the vehicle, would file a property damage claim with the other driver's insurance carrier.  If the case is NOT settled with the other driver's insurance carrier, then a lawsuit would be filed.  Usually, the property damage is resolved without filing a lawsuit.  It is just a matter of getting estimates and then having the car repaired.

If the other driver was at fault in the accident, and did not have insurance, your father could file a claim for property damage with his own insurance company if your father has uninsured motorist coverage.  If the other driver was at fault in the accident and did not have insurance, then your father would have to file a lawsuit for negligence against the other driver for property damage.  Your father's damages (the amount he is seeking to recover in his lawsuit for negligence against the other driver) would be the cost of repairs to the vehicle.


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