What to do if I worked at a automotive shop and when I was test driving a customer’s car I had a wreck?

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What to do if I worked at a automotive shop and when I was test driving a customer’s car I had a wreck?

The shop went out of business and  now I’m getting sued for $14,000.

Asked on October 29, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have to pay, IF you were at fault. Someone who drives another's car and causes or contributes in some meaningful way to an accident is liable for the damage to the car. Potentially, the shop would be liable as well, though you write that it is now out of business; however, even if it could be liable, as your employer, that does not change the fact that you, as an at-fault driver, would be liable, too.

If you believe that you were not at fault--e.g. someone else hit the car without you dong anything wrongs, such as if another driver went through a red light--you may be able to defend yourself against liability; in that event, if you intend to mount a defense, you should retain an attorney to help you.

On the other hand, if you agree that you are at fault and/or that all the evidence will show that you are at fault; it may be effectively impossible for you to defend yourself. In that event, your best bet, may be to declare bankruptcy after there is a judgment against you.

Note that if you have insurance, it may afford you some protection: e.g. your own automotive insurance may cover when you are driving another's car, or if you have an umbrella liabiltity policy, that may help, too. Check your insurance policies to see if they will offer any reimbursement or protection.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have to pay, IF you were at fault. Someone who drives another's car and causes or contributes in some meaningful way to an accident is liable for the damage to the car. Potentially, the shop would be liable as well, though you write that it is now out of business; however, even if it could be liable, as your employer, that does not change the fact that you, as an at-fault driver, would be liable, too.

If you believe that you were not at fault--e.g. someone else hit the car without you dong anything wrongs, such as if another driver went through a red light--you may be able to defend yourself against liability; in that event, if you intend to mount a defense, you should retain an attorney to help you.

On the other hand, if you agree that you are at fault and/or that all the evidence will show that you are at fault; it may be effectively impossible for you to defend yourself. In that event, your best bet, may be to declare bankruptcy after there is a judgment against you.


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