If my boyfriend wrecked my car and now won’t pay for it, canI take the matter to small claims court?

UPDATED: Feb 17, 2012

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If my boyfriend wrecked my car and now won’t pay for it, canI take the matter to small claims court?

A year ago my ex ran my car into a tree and promised to pay for the damages to it. There were no reports made. He agreed to give me $1000 for it and is now going back on that. I have a lot of text messages and witnesses to prove he did it and I’m tired of waiting for his honesty to kick in. Can I take this to small claims court? And if so what would the possible outcome be?

Asked on February 17, 2012 under Accident Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When someone damages your property, either intentionally (deliberately) or negligently (by being unreasonably careless; for example, texting while driving, DUI, driving too fast for conditions, ignoring traffic lights/signs), he may be liable to pay for the damage. Also, if there was an agreement, including an oral agreement, to pay for damage and the other person breaches his agreement, he may be liable under a theory of breach of contract.

Therefore, there are two possible grounds to recover money from him. As to the likely outcome if you sue--that depends on the facts, the quality of your evidence, and the relative credibility of you and your boyfriend. For example, can you show he was driving carelessly (e.g. with a police report)? Can you show the existence and terms of his agreement to pay? Etc.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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