My daughter drove a friends car and hit a parked car. The owner of the friends car is suing for a "stolen vehicle"

Asked over 1 year ago - Woodstock, GA

My daughter drove a friend's car to test drive it in our subdivision. While driving she hit a parked car. She called the police and the friend was asked at the time whether he wanted to report the car stolen and he replied no. The car was actually owned by his grandparents. They have been paid by their insurance company for the total loss of the car and have cashed the check. They are now trying to sue my daughter for $12000 for "stolen vehicle" Can they do this?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . If your daughter was driving the "friend's car" (which is actually owned by his grandparents) with the friend's permission, who himself presumably had permission of his grandparents to use the car, it would be hard to see this technically being considered a "stolen vehicle", especially if the car was never listed as being stolen (the friend even refused to file a stolen vehicle report - although that does raise suspicion as to how your daughter came about to drive the car). However, it does not have to be a stolen vehicle for your daughter to be legally responsible to pay for the damage to the vehicle due to her negligence in driving it and hitting the parked car. Having said that, if the grandparents were paid for the repair/damage to the vehicle by their own insurance company, they should not be able to sue for the same economic loss because by accepting the payment from their insurance company, they "subrogated" any rights (essentially sold those rights) to sue to the carrier and can not collect themselves again, as that would constitute a "double recovery". Be careful, though, it is not unheard of for the insurance company to bring a lawsuit in the name of the insured, rather than in its own as a "subrogee"; so you have to clarify that point. Either way, you best consult and retain an attorney to review this matter and defend your daughter, particularly if she is not a listed insured under any auto policy in your home. If she is, turn the papers over to your carrier right away.

  2. Ian Zimmerman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . I will need more facts to truly answer this but the short amswer is probably not. Please call an attorney for assistance. I handle similar cases regularly and would be happy to help. Thanks.

  3. Robert G. Rothstein

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Stolen vehicle or not, if she was not driving with the owners permission she is responsible for the damages. While the owner has been paid in full (as you claim) the owner's insurance co. can sue her to recover the money they paid, under the doctrine known as subrogation. If your daughter resides in your household. you need to turn the suit papers over to YOUR auto insurer ASAP as they may provide coverage and a defense lawyer to her. If not, get to an atty. ASAP because you have a very limited time (usually 30days) to file an answer to the suit with the court or risk losing the case by default.

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you by attorney Robert G. Rothstein (404) 216-1422 for educational and... more
  4. James Lewis Wood

    Contributor Level 8

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    Answered . While I would agree with the above attorney to call a lawyer... You might also want to call your insurance company. Show them the papers or anything you have suggesting that the friend's grandparents want to sue your daughter. They will provide you with counsel and help you sort things out. If it goes further than that, repost with updates and additional questions when you have the details of what's going on. From this blurb, it doesn't sound like the grandparents wanting to sue adds up to me.

  5. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Turn the case to your insurance company. Let them deal with it. If your daughter is not covered, then you must retain a lawyer for her. The elderly couple may not know that they cannot sue your daughter once they have been paid. They may just want to double dip. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  6. Kevin Coluccio

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get a lawyer.

  7. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Jeffrey laid it out well

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