I let my brother barrow my car and now He won’t give it back what can I do?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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I let my brother barrow my car and now He won’t give it back what can I do?

A few months ago I agreed to co-sign a car loan with my brother because his
credit was too low. When I got there the car dealer told me that the entire car
would be put under my name. i made my brother sign an agreement that I had
written up which we both signed. In the agreement he agreed to do several
different things like make his car payment on time, have insurance, tell me if
he gets into an accident, etc. He has continuously broken our agreement. So today
I asked for him to return the car. When i messaged him he became very angry. I
told him that any damage he does to the car, hw would have to cover. He told me
that since that was not written in our agreement that he didn’t have to cover the
damage. I wouldn’t put it past him to completely destroy the car before returning
it. What do I do? I want my car back.

Asked on December 17, 2017 under Criminal Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have to sue your brother for breach of contract--for violating the agreement under which you agreed to let him use the car. You can sue just for the money he owes you (for everything he should have paid under the agreement, but didn't) in small claims court, which is the simplest and least expensive option--for example, a case like this, you could do "pro se," or as your own attorney, to save legal fees. However, it will not automatically get you the car back: he could in a case like this pay what is supposed to pay (and repay or reimburse anything he failed to pay previously) and still hold/use the car. (Or he might agree to return the car to "settle" the case.)
Or you could file your case in "regular" county court and seek a court order requiring the return of the car as well as repayment of what you had to pay for him. (Unfortunately, small claims courts cannot issue court orders like this.) Suing in county court is more complicated that small claims, and the procedure for seeking a court order is more complicated still--you really should hire a lawyer to represent you.
If he damages the car, you could sue for the lesser of the repair cost or the then-current fair market value, too.

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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