He certainly can sue you, but the question is whether he will win and how much. Here, there is a potential claim that you acted negligently and that you had a duty to your passenger to drive more cautiously. You intelligently are on to something with the concept of assumption of the risk, and there may be some teeth to that defense, but that might be the same argument a driver of a car would make when a passenger sues him for injuries suffered when the car negligently drives into a wall. One can see why the law would not want to allow all drivers to be immune from all liability from the injuries of their passengers.
The good news for you is that the damages are so minor that it would not be likely he would sue. He would have to front court filing fees that probably exceed the cost of fixing the phone. He might be able to get a judgment against you for some amount to fix the phone and for his filing fees, but then he has to go through the arduous process of trying to collect those amounts from you.
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I agree with my colleagues here.
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.
I am a Florida attorney who practices in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and civil rights. My answers on Avvo are not legal advice, and they do not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact me--please understand that I cannot contact you--then I will carefully evaluate your case and determine if I will accept you as a client. Unless you and I sign a contract for legal representation, then I am not your attorney. Furthermore, Avvo is a limited forum and not well-suited for complex legal analysis. You should always obtain competent legal advice from attorneys who will carefully evaluate all your case's facts. Avvo isn't the place for that.
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