Do I have a case for small claims court if my friends kept more than half of the payout for a vehicle that was mine? 2 Answers as of October 10, 2017

On 08/2014, I took over (possession only) a vehicle from a friend. We, the friend and I, allowed the vehicle to remain in his name. I was under the assumption that I'd be added to the insurance as a driver. I found out that I wasn't. I paid all the monthly car payment including the insurance. I also paid for all maintenance to keep the vehicle operational. On 06/28/17, I was involved in a car accident. I called my friend (his wife and I were close friends until this) to inform him I had just had an accident and could he give me the insurance agent’s number. He told me that he would call the insurance and tell them himself. He called me a few days later saying that the insurance is totaling out the vehicle and I'd received a check in a few weeks for the amount of $4100.00. He called me 2 days later and said my money is there and that I can come pick it up. He also stated that he only has $4000.00 remaining after he had to pay for check cashing fees and a new title. At this point, I was confused as to why he cashed the check vs signing it over to me. I met him at his home and received the $4000.00 in cash. A few weeks later, I was contacted by the insurance to give a statement as the accounts of the accident. During that call, I inquired about the check and fast return, I then learned that the payout was in the amount of $8157.76.

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Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
"We, the friend and I, allowed the vehicle to remain in his name" The title holder of the vehicle is going to be the name on the check from the insurance company. I am not sure why you paid for a car in someone else's name. Never co-sign for a car that you don't own. You can sue in small claims court but the court will probably rule against you because the car is not titled in your name.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/10/2017
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Of course. A friend wouldn't do that. Sue them.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/10/2017
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