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My son drove his friend's 1993 stick shift truck and the clutch 'broke', is my son liable for old clutch and if so how much?

Boise, ID |

My son backed up with the emergency brake on. Noticed it and released it. He drove a 1/2 mile down the road and it wasn't shifting correctly. He drove back and parked.

His friend got in, put the truck in reverse, backed out a ways, but was making a weird noise. He is saying that the emergency brake caused the clutch to 'burn'. Friend had truck towed ($250) to mechanic and clutch does need to be replaced ($800).

With truck being a 1993 (180k+ miles), original clutch, what is a fair price should we pay toward repairs? Since my son was driving are we required to pay full $1050? Or is there a deduction due to truck's age?

We talked with clutch mechanic and he said that it wouldn't of caused that damage unless the clutch was already damaged.

Thanks for your help!!

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Attorney answers 4


He could always go to small claims court. See if he will split the cost with you.

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Hello, thank you for the answer. They are asking for full amount. If we went to small claims court would the judge determine what a fair price for us to pay? We were thinking maybe a quarter of the cost since it's a 20 year old vehicle. Thanks again!


Likely not unless your son did something negligent to cause the clutch to fail. I would wait for them to pursue it and consult an attorney to explore defending what ever action they bring. However you might consider working something out to salvage relationships. Best of luck.

I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.



Yes, that was a concern as well about the relationship, but our son has only a short-term friendship with him and it's only a casual at work relationship. They don't hang out for example. Still however, we wouldn't mind helping out with some but as you mention we may wait to see what they pursue and go from there. They're currently asking for all of it, which we said no and won't pay anything until we see the mechanic itemized quote. Thank you!


It appears from your description that the clutch was already failing. However, to preserve the harmony between friends, he should negotiate with his friend and offer to pay half. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. El abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales de Acidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, y Abogado de Acidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.


The other answers you have received from other attorneys here are all correct in their conciliatory approach towards a practical resolution. My answer is in no way in disparagement of their answers. But, here's my hard-ball legal approach: if the friend wanted to take your son to court the friend would then be required to offer evidence that your son's trying to engage the clutch with the emergency brake on was, by a preponderance of the evidence, the cause of the clutch failure, and not the age of the truck or other factors. Your son's defense is the age of the truck and whether or not there had been correct maintenance. You might have your own mechanic examine the vehicle and provide their opinion.

You decide which approach to take.

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

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