What is our liability if my boyfriend and I were using a friend’s truck to move things and we scraped the paint over the back wheel well?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What is our liability if my boyfriend and I were using a friend’s truck to move things and we scraped the paint over the back wheel well?

I’m not disputing fault since we probably did it but they’re freaking out and basically wanting to re-do the whole truck (tires, realignment, etc) for one paint scratch. And the truck was scratched previously to us using it. I’ve said that we’ll pay to get the paint retouched (although it’s been scratched before), but nothing else. Do they have any legal grounds to make us fix anything else? Should I seek a mechanic to prove that the problems they claim cannot be traced to the scrape?

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, a party which damages another's property through either a deliberate act or negligence (carelessness) is responsible only for the damage that party caused--not for pre-existing damage, or damage caused by other parties. Practically, the issue may be that if the "friend" wants you to pay for other damage and sues you for that money (remember: you don't have to pay anything until and unless you are sued and lose), you will have to provide evidence that you only scratched the paint. To do that, you can use you testimony; your boyfriend's testimony; any experts who examine the truck (though you may need a supoena to get the truck for examination); photographs (if any); etc. (Technically, the friend, as the one suing, would need to prove you did all the other damage; but you'll need to provide at least some evidence and testimony to the contrary to refute whatever evidence and testimony the friend provides.)


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption