I bought a car, paid for the title, licence and sticker. The last thing i needed was insurance. I went out of town, left the car in the driveway and gave the keys to my parents. My 19 yr. Old brother asked to see the car to go to the store. Me being stupid I agreed to let him and told my parents to make sure he returned the keys to them once he got back. He got into an accident. Now I have a letter for a claim of $1,428.20. It says I can dispute the debt or a portion of it by sending a letter.I don't know how severe the damages were I've never seen or spoken to anyone. Can I get several quotes on repair costs before agreeing to pay anything? Also can I make payments instead of paying all at once? I'm a 21 year old college student I don't have that kind of money. Please help!
Personal Injury Lawyer
If your brother had insurance, he should report this to them. It may be covered.
If your brother had your permission then you will be on the hook. The car should have been insured by law. The fact that you did not do this means you and your brother may be personally liable.
If no insurance on either household will cover this, start negotiating, but make sure If you pay money a release is executed.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.
9 lawyers agree
Clarify for me your statement about insurance. Are you saying you did not insure your vehicle?
Most states require that in order to register and tag a vehicle. If you are not insured, is your brother insured on a personal vehicle? It would be rare, but some policies might extend to him driving another person's vehicle. IF you are not insured, and your brother has no insurance that would apply, immediately consult with a local attorney about mitigating your damages. It will cost you money, but much better to have an attorney familiar with Illinois law write the letter for you.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Since your brother had your permission, you will be held liable. If the claim letter is from an attorney you can give them a call and request the proof of the damages and then determine if the estimates are out of line. You probably can agree to a payment plan by talking to that attorney who is doing the collections for the insurance company.
I am only licensed in Arkansas. No part of this answer should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship.
6 lawyers agree
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Of course check for all possible source of insurance including your brother, parents and possibly a prior insurnace policy that had on an earlier car. If you brother is covered by your parent's insurance, they may pay this claim and, although not mentioned in your facts, if you had insurance on a prior car that was still in force, often they give you 30 days to add a newly purchased vehicle and will cover you during that time. Lastly, if your parents were aware you did not hav einsurance and still gave your brother the keys, I am wondering if your parents insurance would cover this accident under a negligent entrustment theory? That might be grasping at straws but it always worth finding out.
Assuming no insurance, you would have the right to question the damage estimate, possibly have second opinion if the car has not already been fixed and try to negotiate a lower amount. You should however figure out if the other party intends to claim personal injury also because that would be over and above the vehicle damage, and should be part of agreement.
You did not say who the claim letter was from (the other party, their insurance or an attorney) but they will likley agree to take payments on the amount you agree upon, and you should have the agreement put in writing signed by everyone so the terms are clear and the other party(ies) is(are) barred from asking for anything else in the future. I use the word parties in case the owner and driver of the other car are different.
Of course, consulting with an experienced attorney could save you lots of headaches in the future, especially when it comes to negotiating/ writting / reviewing the payment agreement.
Bankruptcy is also an option if you truly do not have the funds to pay the claim
3 lawyers agree
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Your parents probably have car insurance. As long as you and your brother reside at your parents home and neither one of you is expressly excluded from your parents policy, it will pay for the damages to your car and to the car that your brother hit.
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1 lawyer agrees