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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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My Minor son of age 17 was driving a golf cart at a camp ground

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My Minor son of age 17 was driving a golf cart at a camp ground on July 4th 2012. he attempted a K turn and acidently backed into a new Jeep (dont know the model) yr 2012 car. He hit the bumper with the bumper of the golf cart. there was minor damage the plastic bumper was pushed in and the reflector poped out. using my hand i poped out the pushed in part and reflector was undamadged and could be easily re attached by snapping it into the approprate spot for the reflector. The owners of the vehical call the police who issued a "non reportable accident report" I did take some photos of the small damage. At the time of the accident I offered to pay him $200 to have the effected area buffed out and detail the car. The offer was not accepted. His insurance company called me and informed me the damages were $791 I told them that there was no way that much damage was done and I would not pay it. I recently received a notice that my son who is now 18 is being suied for damages and court costs. I have acconoledged that the accident occured and that it is my son's fault I beleave the repairs are unfounded. What is my best arguement and what supporting evidence should I have to support it claiming the charges for the amount of damage are over stated? Will my sone have to represent himself and present his own arguements to the distric majistrate?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Your son can represent himself, or he can hire a lawyer to do so. You unfortunately cannot represent him. You may want to contact both your homeowner's insurance and your car insurance to see if either of them will cover it - they would either pay to repair the damage or produce a lawyer to defend your son (in accordance with the terms of the policy). If the law in your area does not require golf carts to be insured or golf cart drivers to be licensed, it might be an issue for the homeowner's insurance.

The way to dispute the amount of the charges is to produce evidence from a mechanic showing what it would cost. That could be difficult without physically having the vehicle in front of you, but pictures could help. The other party can only recover the $791 if he has evidence from a mechanic that it cost that much to repair. Unfortunately, a person cannot dispute repair costs just by saying that it seems too high, unless he is a mechanic, so your son will need to get some estimates or talk to other mechanics in the area who can testify on his behalf. That's the only way to dispute the amount they're asking for.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Lucy, Esq. and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is the owner of the vehicle or their insurance company required to provide me with the specifications of the damage repaired? If the insurance company paid for the repairs would my son be liable for more than the owners deductable?

They're not required to provide you with anything, because you are neither a party to the lawsuit nor his attorney. They will have to provide copies of all documentation to the judge if they want to get a judgment. Usually, that means they'll hand it over if asked, to avoid having to go to court. Your son can also serve them with a Request for Production of Documents and Things, asking for pictures of the damage, estimates, and receipts. Here's a sample:

Whether a person has insurance is not relevant in a lawsuit to the question of liability. A person who is damaged can seek full reimbursement from the person that caused the damage. Your son would not be able to introduce evidence as to whether the insurance company paid for the damage. If they did pay, there is a subrogation clause in the policy that would require the car's owner to repay the insurance company for the money they paid. But you can't use that in a lawsuit to reduce the amount of the judgment.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just to clarify. This happend when he was 17 the suit paperwork was filed on July 12 2013 over a year after the incident. does his age have any impact ont the proceedings? is there a statute of limitations?

His age actually works against him here - the statute of limitations doesn't begin to run until he turns 18. It doesn't make a difference here, though, because they have two years to file suit.

The age doesn't have anything to do with his liability - the judge will consider whether he was behaving in a way that a reasonably prudent person would have under the same or similar circumstances. A 17-year-old who is driving a golf cart is usually going to be treated the same as an adult.