Am I responsible for damages if my car was in the shop being repaired and was in an accident while on a test drive?

UPDATED: Apr 3, 2012

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Am I responsible for damages if my car was in the shop being repaired and was in an accident while on a test drive?

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Accident Law, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The owner of a car is potentially liable to third parties for all damage done by that car by permitted drivers--that is, by anyone driving the car with approval or permission (i.e. not a car thief); therefore, if the car ran into someone else's car, for example, that other driver could potentially sue you, as well as the repair shop and its staff, for his/her damage.

(Note: to be liable to a third party, the driver of your car would have to be at fault in some way, such as by driving negligently or carelessly.)

You, in turn, if found liable to a third party, could sue the repair shop or the employee driving your car to recover the money, since they caused your loss through negligence.

If there is no third party involved--e.g. no other car or person was hit--the repair shop would be responsible to compensate you for the damage its employee did in the course of his/her employment; when a repair shop or contractor carelessly damages your property in some way, they are responsible to pay for it. So between you and the repair shop, ignoring third parties, the repair shop is liable.

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 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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