Can I sue a dealership for crashing my car on a test drive?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue a dealership for crashing my car on a test drive?

A couple weeks ago my father brought our car into the dealership to get something in the engine checked out. English is not my father’s first language, so when they brought him papers to sign he did and went on with his day thinking that every time he brought his car into the dealership to get something checked, nothing would happen. This time, a couple hours after dropping the car off, my father got a car from the dealership telling him that our car was crashed when they brought it out for a test drive. My father went into the dealership demanding for something to be done about this but the dealership did nothing to help him. They took full advantage of my father and just ran this over his head. Can I sue the dealership for negligence or something of that nature?

Asked on November 26, 2016 under Accident Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue whomever was at fault (e.g. driving negligently or carelessly) in causing the accident for the cost to repair if the car can be economically repaired, or for its then-current "blue book" or fair market value if it could be repaired on a cost effective basis. (To oversimplify: the court should be repaired if the repair cost is less than its value; it should be "totalled" otherwise.) 
The key is, only someone at fault is liable. So if it was a one-car accident--the dealership employee ran it into a tree, a fence, a pole, a parked car, etc.--then the dealership and its employee are both liable. (The careless driver, the employee, is liable for his careless driving; and the dealership is liable for the careless acts of its employees committed during work.) If however another driver ran into the car while the employee was driving carefully, you could only sue that other driver.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption