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Ask LegalKnowledge Your Own Question
LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25933
Experience:  10+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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My daughters friend totaled her car that I only had liability

Customer Question

My daughters friend totaled her car that I only had liability coverage on and we have sued them and go to court this week. What do I say in court to make sure we get paid for the car?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Is she contesting the lawsuit or admitting to the fault? Just trying to get an idea if this is going to be contested?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He's contesting. He said he's not liable bc my daughter is not listed on my insurance and cited Ga.Title 52, chapter 11, Section 7 saying that I fails to take ordinary care of my property by having my car 250 miles from my home with my daughter while she's at college.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. Are you sure he is citing the proper code? I am not finding it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's Title 51, not 52. He also said I was negligent by not maintaining control or authority over my vehicle. I was thinking he had what I called implied responsibility by asking to borrow the car and he's saying my daughter is 50% liable for allowing him to use the car. I need to add he was cited at fault by the police and he totaled my car and the other persons car.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Here is the statute he is trying to cite as a defense. It would not appear it has much merit, as HE asked to borrow the car and HE was at fault, based upon what you shared above. I do not see his argument that you failed to use ordinary care, when your daughter was allowed to use the car and on the insurance. Moreover, she is at college and needs a car, so it would appear he is trying to make something up. At the end of the day, he asked to borrow the car and was the cause of the accident and negligent. He would be at fault and if it can be shown he caused the accident, he would have to pay for the damages. The argument that your daughter allowed him to borrow the car so she is at fault as well, seems odd, since this is not a situation where she knew he was impaired or something and gave him the car keys and asked him to drive. 51-11-7. Effect of plaintiff's failure to avoid consequences of defendant's negligence If the plaintiff by ordinary care could have avoided the consequences to himself caused by the defendant's negligence, he is not entitled to recover. In other cases the defendant is not relieved, although the plaintiff may in some way have contributed to the injury sustained.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you please put the code in simpler terms? Does it matter that my daughter is not listed on my insurance? What would I say to the judge to ensure that I win?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Just to be clear, you are saying that you gave her the car to use in college but she was not covered under the insurance?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. She's not listed on my policy, but the car is. My insurance paid for the other drivers car, but not mine bc I only had liability on the car not full coverage.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
As you are aware, liability car insurance covers damages to another person resulting from an accident you cause. What he is trying to argue and use as a defense, is that you should have not given the car to your daughter to drive, if she was not covered under it and it was foreseeable that she may lend the car to another driver, who could get into an accident. Since it is your daughter, if there were repairs needed to the car, either you would pay or she would but you likely would not sue your daughter. However, this case is different, since the accident was caused by a third party. The problem he may have is that if you had the proper coverage, although minimal, is that the car could legally be driven and you did exercise ordinary care, since the car was insured. Had there been no insurance and you just told her to drive it, that would be something that could have been avoided. He is trying to say had you had full coverage, he would not be getting sued but that is not the case, since any deductible he would likely need to pay for, since he caused the accident and damage. Also, you may want to argue that since he borrowed the vehicle, he needed to make sure either he was covered under the policy or had his own insurance that would cover him. Thus, he failed to make sure that he was protected.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He's saying that my daughter didn't follow my orders by allowing him to use the car so she is 50% responsible so he should only pay half of the damages to her car.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Did you tell her nobody is allowed to drive the car? Also, how would he know that?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I did tell her that and she told him that. After the accident she told him "my moms gonna kill me bc I wasn't supposed to let anyone drive the car."
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
That does not necessarily excuse his negligence. Plus, if he knew about it ahead of time, he should not have driven the car. At the end of the day, he caused the accident, he borrowed the car and the fact that she allowed him to drive it, without your knowledge, would not necessarily mean that he is only 50% at fault. it is not as if she asked him to drive the car or placed him in the situation. He asked to borrow the car and maybe he even told her if something happens, he will take care of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He did tell her afterward that his parents would pay for her car. He changed his tune when his father told him and me that he was only 50% responsible. What should I say in court to ensure that I win the case
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
If he is relying on the statute above as a defense, you do need to show you used ordinary care and that the accident was a result of his negligence and nobody elses. The consequences of him driving the car was an accident. Even if the car was fully covered, it would not eliminate his negligence when driving the vehicle and causing the accident.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do I show that I used ordinary care since she wasn't listed and I only had liability?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
You could always argue that the vehicle was insured and you gave her a vehicle to drive that met the minimal insurance requirements. As such, it was a properly insured vehicle that was allowed to be driven on the roadway.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think I have a chance of winning? Btw he said he'd used the car several times before and she said he'd used it a couple of times.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Is he representing himself?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As far as I know
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He filled out the paperwork himself
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
The Judge will hear the facts and argument of both parties and rule. The burden is first on your to show he was at fault for the damage, which should not be hard. Then, he will respond and raise any defenses and you will be given a chance by the Judge to respond as well. The Judge will then decide. Based upon what you shared above, it would appear you have a chance of recovering, since he was at fault.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any law about implied responsibility when using someone else's car?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
In what sense?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a code that I can cite that would say he took responsibility when he got behind the wheel of the regardless of me or my daughter.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
His actions alone would make him responsible. Based upon what you shared above, your claim is based upon his negligence. The Four Basic Elements of NegligencePresence of a Duty of Care. The first element is establishing the presence of a duty owed by one person to another. ...Someone Breached Their Duty. The second element is a breach of the duty owed by one person to another. ...The Breach Directly Causes Injuries. ...Proving Monetary Losses
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I mention these in court?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
Yes, you are going to need to show he was negligent and at fault, causing the damage to the vehicle.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure. I just hope I say the right things.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.
I understand it can be scary but the Judge is going to direct what is happening. As I shared above, first focus on showing he was at fault and the driver of the vehicle and he owes you the money for the damages caused, as a result of his actions. Then, let him respond and pay attention to what he is alleging/claiming. Just because he says something does not mean the Judge is going to believe him or apply the wrong law. Then, respond and contradict what he is saying. I wish you the best of luck and please let me know if there is anything else. If not, I kindly ask that you rate my help at this time and if you have or think of any other questions later on, can just come back and ask and I can respond. Thank you again.