What should I do if I got into an accident driving my friend's car and might be sued by his dad for the cost to fix it? 7 Answers as of November 02, 2012

My friend had been drinking and wanted to go get more alcohol so I offered to drive his car since mine was out of gas and I was sober. Long story short, the car rolled out of the garage with the driver door open and hit a beam and was pushed too far forward. He brought the car home that weekend to have his dad take it to his friend's body shop. They said they needed to replace the whole door and all this other stuff and his dad said to talk to my mom since the total came out to $1800. My mom had been in the Bahamas so I couldn't talk her until the following weekend. My mom called our insurance and they said they would cover it, that his insurance would. His dad said he didn't want to go through the insurance and went ahead and got the car fixed without saying anything to us. Two days later, I get an email from the body shop for $2200 with his dad threatening to sue me if I don't pay. I don't know what to do, I had permission and he was drunk so I was doing him a favor and now I'm expected to pay all this money with the car being fixed without me being notified? I would have had it taken to another body shop or maybe split it 50/50 with him but it’s too late now. If I am sued what could happen? What should I do?

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Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
Let him try and sue. Your insurance company had indicated that they were covering you for the damages. They had a right to demand several independent estimates, but the dad decided to go with a friend. It does not matter if he did not want to go through his insurance, you have a right to go through yours.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/2/2012
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
If you are sued, send all the paperwork to both your insurance company and his insurance company (or your insurance might send it to his insurance company - but make sure they do). Let the insurance companies argue about it. You were driving his car and had permission.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/2/2012
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
I will need details but would believe, in Michigan, the highest he could recover is $500.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/2/2012
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
The answer is in the middle of your question. You said your mother said your insurance co would take care of it. that is why we buy insurance. That is their job. Turn it over to them and forget about it. if someone sues you turn it over to the insurance co.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 11/2/2012
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Do you have auto insurance on your car Report it to your own insurance.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/2/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    It sounds as if the accident was your fault even though you were doing a favor for your friend. If it was your fault, you are liable. Even if he turns it in on his insurance, the insurer could sue you to get its money back, although sometimes they don't because it is not worth it. If you get sued, and you are on your mother's policy, you may want to press the issue with her insurer. They may be wrong in saying it is not covered (you may want to press the issue anyway even if you do not get sued). If you are sued, you have a right to defend the suit. You might want to admit liability, but argue that the damages he seeks are too high. To do this, you would need to bring a car guy (body shop guy) to court to testify that he could fix the car for less. Finally, you are probably judgment proof, meaning he can get a judgment against you, but cannot collect it unless you voluntarily pay it. He can only force you to pay it if you own property that is not exempt from execution on a judgment. You might want to offer to make payments to avoid all of this if you think you can do so.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/2/2012
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    Since you had permission to drive the car, you are an insured under HIS insurance policy. If he sues you, you have every right to contact HIS insurance company and ask it to defend and indemnify you. So his effort to avoid going through his own insurance company will fail. You may want to explain this to him, and see if he is interested in making some sort of a compromise with you. If not, contact HIS insurance company and report the claim. Remember, because you were a permissive user driving HIS car, it is HIS insurance that is responsible, not yours.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/2/2012
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