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Who pays after crashing a car with no collision insurance?

Walnut Creek, CA |

My friend told me to drive her vehicle in the dark, after 9 hours of us both driving already across country, and after I said I didn't feel comfortable driving it, it had been a year since I've driven. She insisted I drive so we could bring the rental back. I ended up backing out of a very small garage. A passenger, who is our roommate, said to 'Keep going, she doesn't care about scratches' when I thought I hit the side of the garage. I continued to back out and ended up resulting in "supposedly" 2k worth of damage to the front of the car. She "forgot" she had no collision insurance and I am currently uninsured as I've been out of the country for a year. Who pays for the damage?

Attorney Answers 7


  1. You -- you caused the damage, right?

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  2. The damage is the responsibility of the person who was careless and caused the damage.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.


  3. It's not clear who owned the car - was it your friend's or was it a rental?
    If this was a car that your friend rented, she is going to be responsible for the damage, along with you as the driver of the car. The fact that someone gave you bad advice is not going to exonerate you.
    If this was a car your friend owed, and she chose to sue you, she'd probably prevail, although it could be argued she assumed the risk of an accident when you told her your were tired and rusty.


  4. Whoever caused the damage is liable.


  5. If the vehicle belonged to your friend, you will be liable for the damage to the vehicle since you were driving. However, your friend could be held comparatively at fault for insisting that you drive her car despite your concerns about your ability to drive. The percentage of fault attributed to your friend would effectively reduce the percentage of your fault. For example, if 20% fault was attributed to your friend, 80% fault would be attributed to you.

    If your friend rented the vehicle from a rental car, it is likely the rental car company would pursue your friend for payment for the damage to the vehicle. The rental car company would also pursue you for payment given that you were the driver. (In fact, I'm guessing that if you were not added as a driver on the rental agreement, the fact that you were driving would likely invalidate the insurance coverage had your friend opted to obtain such coverage.) If this was a rental, perhaps your friend could check with the credit card company that she used to book and/or rent the car. Some credit card companies provide coverage for damage to rental cars.

    Wendy Schenk is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and thus this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. Since all facts are not addressed in the question, this answer could change depending on other significant and important facts. This answer in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.


  6. The party who caused the damage

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response is for educational purposes only. I have not met with you and I am not knowledgeable about the specific details of your case. Each case is unique and different. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact and meet with a licensed criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific circumstances. In addition, an attorney-client relationship is not created by virtue of this response.