Can I hold the owner of a vehicle that was driven by another person responsible for damages done to our property which totaled over $10,000?

UPDATED: May 13, 2014

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Can I hold the owner of a vehicle that was driven by another person responsible for damages done to our property which totaled over $10,000?

The vehicle had no insurance and the driver was arrested and given only 75 days in jail and not even ordered to pay restitution for the damages. We sent a certified letter to the owner for payment of the damages but the address on the police report was incorrect as the letter came back. I have found another address for this person but what are my legal rights? What is the statue of limitations?

Asked on May 13, 2014 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The owner of a vehicle is liable for damage done by someone who drove his/her vehicle if--

1) The person had permission to drive (e.g. was not stolen or otherwise taken without permission), since someone is not liable for the actions of someone that they had no control over (particularly if that person broke the law); and

2) The driver was at fault in some way, such as by driving negligently or carelessly (if the driver was not at fault, no liability).

The statute of limitations in your state is 2 years from date of accident.

Of course, if the car had no insurance, that's probeably because the owner has little or no money--you might sue him or her and win and still not recover anything.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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