What are my son’s rights regarding the cost of repairs if he was driving a friend’s car with permission, slid on ice and hit another car?

UPDATED: Dec 7, 2013

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What are my son’s rights regarding the cost of repairs if he was driving a friend’s car with permission, slid on ice and hit another car?

The friend’s car is fine but the other car had slight damage. He was told that he owes $3500 for the repair. We don’t question his responsibility, we question the dollar amount of invoice. Is there any way to fight this – work was done that was not due to the accident? The friend’s family has insurance but they don’t want to run this through the insurance due to other accidents their son was in previously. My son needs to take responsibility but we don’t have this kind of money.

Asked on December 7, 2013 under Accident Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You don't have to pay unless sued and you lose--i.e. a court renders a judgment against you (if your son is a minor) or your son (if he's 18 or older). Therefore, you can certainly counteroffer to pay a lower amount; or offer to pay over time; or request to see the invoices or the repairs for the repairs, to see if they are legitimate; or all of the above. If the other side will not cooperate, you can refuse to pay and force them to sue you and prove their case in court--not just prove your son''s responsibility, but also prove the amount of damage.

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