Who is responsible for $3000 in damages to our son’s car?

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Who is responsible for $3000 in damages to our son’s car?

My son’s car was at friend’s house. A neighbor’s company, a 15 year old, was being wreckless and driving golf cart. He hit my son’s car and caused $2850 in damage. The owner did not insure the golf cart. Now he says that he can’t pay and says it’s our problem. What can we do?

Asked on December 2, 2016 under Accident Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue him for the money: a parent or legal guardian is liable for the damage his or her minor children do negligently, or unreasonably carelessly, like this. A good option would be to sue in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se"), since this seems like a fairly straightforward case, based on what you write--not only will suing in small claim on a pro se basis save you legal fees, but small claims cases move along much more quickly than other cases, so you'll get a faster resolution. You will need to have evidence and testimony of the 15-year-old's fault: when you get a court date, subpoena the court officer to appear (the court clerk can direct you to forms and instructions for doing this) and bring any/all witnesses to the accident and/or any corresondence in which the other side admitted fault or asked you to lie (since asking you to lie is pretty much as good as admitting fault directly).


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