Last October (2015) I let a casual friend borrow my car for the first time in order for him to go to an interview in san mateo county, approximately 20 minutes away, during the afternoon on a weekday.
FYI only: My car was a 2013 BMW 650i Gran Coupe. MSRP on the car when leased as a new vehicle from BMW of San Francisco in May 2013 was just over $100,000. I signed a 36 month lease
with a $10,000 lease cap reduction. At the time the car was borrowed in late October, prior to this event described here, the car had approximately 14,000 miles on the odometer and was fully insured for collision
and liability with my insurance
company, Liberty Mutual, with a $1,000 deductible. I had no history of claims and a clean driving
After the interview he asked if it would be OK for him to go see his Mom and visit his home just outside of San Jose (santa clara county) to get some things. He would then planned on returning back to my home in san francisco (San Fran County) later that evening, the timing of which depended on traffic. I had been told before by him that he had an older model Mercedes E500 or similar at home which was "his car" that he babied. I had also been with him on at least 2 other occasions over recent months where he drove my car with me in the car, as he felt more rested than I did and better equipped to drive over a long distance or simply wanted to drive for the sport of it. This occasion in October 2015 for his interview was the first time he drove the car without me in the vehicle, but based on my observations of his driving with me present, noting his careful driving manner and thoughtfulness behind the wheel that confirmed his statements that he babied his own car I was comfortable letting him borrow my car for the interview and even the later request to return to san jose before coming back to my home with the car. And based on his statements to me about having an older model but impeccably maintained mercedes garaged at home, statements and later texts that implied he had automobile coverage, his maturity at age 30 or more years old, responsible lifestyle and affluent parents in the South Bay I was confident all would be OK...it was a good deed to help out a friend who wanted to seize the moment and get to an interview for a new job he was excited about.
Let me get to the point and I can provide all the other details and documents, should someone decide any of this is relevant.
At some point that evening (the details become conflicting or incomplete as they have not been provided) friend Carlos Patterson and an unknown (to me) female friend went out to celebrate his new job. Earlier that the same evening Carlos texted me to say he was tired from visiting his mom's and hanging out at his family home all evening; it was getting late so he asked if I was OK if instead he drove back to san francisco in the morning; he bragged the car was fine, and it looked great parked in his parent's driveway
and we joked about how "it" must be enjoying the good life being on Carlos' parent's south bay estate instead of locked underground in my garage in the city where it was rarely driven from. Of course I agreed as it was the safest and wisest thing and I had no need for the car that evening or next day. He said he would text me in the morning when he drove up. The next morning I did not receive a text; the entire day goes by and no communication from Carlos; I decide to not stress over it; all has to be ok. Another day and evening go by and I need to go to a meeting across town on a friday afternoon. No communication from Carlos still despite my texting and call attempts. As I am uber going to my meeting at approximately 3pm on a friday afternoon I get a text reply from Carlos saying he was sorry for being out of touch; he said he just got released from San Mateo County and he did not know where the car was; also he states the car go hit that night he was coming up to the city to return it to me but it was a hit and run ; he recalls the car was impounded by San Bruno or Millbrae police. Based on field sobriety tests, Carlos was arrested at the scene and held for 2 days in county jail in San Mateo until he posted his own bail. Days following the accident he asked if I can loan
him his November rent on his apartment because he had to post his own bail to get released from jail and could not tell his parents about any of this; I gave his landlord a check for $975 for his Nov rent; Carlos said he would pay me back starting January 1 2016 over time for the rent as well as the (yet unknown) total costs for the car accident I had to pay; I agreed but he has yet to make any payment. The car was totalled by my insurance company as a result of that accident and I have nearly $10,000 in expenses due to this accident since October. Is this a small claims
issue and if so, what county do I start this in? Santa Clara county where he resides, San Mateo where the accident happened or San Francisco where I reside?