If I was in a car accident in a friend’s vehicle and I’ve paid him what I think is fair for the amount of the carbut he wants more, do I owe him additional money?

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2012

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If I was in a car accident in a friend’s vehicle and I’ve paid him what I think is fair for the amount of the carbut he wants more, do I owe him additional money?

This happened 2 years ago. My friend lent me his car after he lost his license. I ended up rolling his car, however 2 weeks prior he had smashed his right side quarter panel and rear bumper completely off the car. After I rolled it I told him I would repay him for the car. To this day I have given him $1700 but he still wants more. No assessment was done before or after the accident so no exact price was given to the vehicle. He wants $1000 more for the vehicle. Do I legally owe him $1000 more?

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Accident Law, New York


Robert Slim / Robert C. Slim - Attorney at Law

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You owe the fair market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident (minus any salvage value).  For example, if his car was worth $2,000 before the accident, and had a salvage value of $500 after the accident, then you owe him $1,500.

I couldn't help but notice that the accident is approaching two years.  In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limtiations to sue for recovery of damages resulting from a  car accident.  That is, unless a lawsuit is filed within that time, then the time period expires to assert any claims.

However, if your friend can allege that you and he had a 'settlement agreement" and that you breached that agreement, he has four years from the date that the agreement was breached to assert his claim for any recovery on the agreement.  If you merely paid him voluntarily without a formal written or specific verbal agreement to do so, then I would say the two-year time limit applies.  Since you state that there was no particular value placed on the vehicle nor any deadline to pay for the damages, then I would say you and he did not have an enforceable "agreement."

Therefore, if you feel like you've paid him sufficiently, then I would leave well enough alone and see if he makes the move to take legal action within the two year deadline. 

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