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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 37002
Experience:  Attorney,16 years experience in consumer protection areas
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My son's friend is 21. He gave my son the keys to s car to

Customer Question

My son's friend is 21. He gave my son the keys to his car to drive. My son does not have a driving license. My son damaged the car while driving it. The car is worth $1000, the damage to repair is over $2500. No one was hurt, no property was damaged...just the car. I feel that the other boy should accept some of the blame (Negligent Entrustment) and not make my son pay for all the repair. Or....my can give him a certain amount towards another car. It seems unwise to pay $2500 on a car worth only $1000.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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In a situation like this, if son is over 18, he is an adult and it responsible for his own actions. Son would be liable for the lesser of what it costs to fix the car, or the actual value of the car. So with the repair costs being this high, the vehicle would be considered totaled and son would only be obligated to pay the friend for the blue book value of the vehicle if friend sued him for damages.

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So in this case, son can refuse to pay him anything over what the wholesale book value of the vehicle is or tell friend to sue him and let a judge order that he pay the book value..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. My son did just turn 18, but has no license. He feels badly and is willing to pay above book value toward repair or another car, but the "friend" and his family only want the car repaired and for my son to pay in full. How can I get them to pay a portion of the repair or consider another option......like use my son's money towards another used car.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The family feels that their son will get in trouble w/ his insurance co for giving my son the keys.....and his rates could go up. We already know if they report my son to the police, he would get a $200 citation. It's nice they want to avoid all of these repercussions, but they want my son to pay in full for the repair. Thank you.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

You can't force them to pay towards the repair because if son is an adult, then he is legally responsible for his own actions, including breaking the law and driving without a license.

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If they won't agree to accept the book value for the vehicle as full payment, then son would have to refuse to pay anything, and then let them sue him so a judge would rule in their favor, but only award book value.

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If the vehicle is only worth around $1K, then it wouldn't make sense to report it to the insurer as they would only pay up to book value. They won't pay $2500 to repair a vehicle that is only worth $1,000. When a repair cost goes over 75% of the book value, the insurer considers it totaled and just pays off the book value and junks the car.

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So if son paid the $1,000 book value, then technically he should get the car so he could sell it for parts or junk it. So if he is willing to pay them the $1,000 and let them keep the car, they are in a better position than they would be if they sued him in small claims court.

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thanks

Barrister

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