Legal Question in Mediation in California

paint scratch liability

Help. I scratched a neighbor's truck (I left 2 six inch scrapes) with my side

view mirror last month while pulling out of a tight parking spot. I called and

told him to come down and look at it.

The truck was completely scratched from before as well. I mean, really bad

condition. It already needed to be repainted. It had dings and dents, all over

the truck, in the bed, and even on the panel I scratched.

He said, ''Wow, looks like it's going to need to be repainted.''

So he got an estimate: $199 for the panel, $329 for the whole truck. Now he

wants CASH ($199) to go paint the truck. He is having the whole thing

painted! I am not dumb enough to give him cash, but even if I reimburse, do I

reimburse $199 (meaning I pay for over half the paint job of the entire truck)

or the percentage I damaged (if 8 panels on the truck, one-eighth of the total

cost)?

He keeps saying, ''Well, we could just go through insurance.'' I guess I need to

know what I am LEGALLY responsible for. . .

Asked on 11/21/05, 2:24 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen
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Re: paint scratch liability

You're legally responsible for the damage that you caused. How much that would cost is for you and him to decide. You can take pictures to a body shop to get a written estimate, and tell him you'll pay that.

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11/21/05, 4:21 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach
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Re: paint scratch liability

One time when I was driving commercially, and working my way through law school, I scratched a Mercedes good. I was driving a Lincoln Town Car, and hit the bumper, and left these ugly black marks all over the bumper of the Mercedes.

I was getting out of the car, when the owner of the Mercedes came out and was yelling at me saying "did you hit my car?!!!!!" I was wearing dark pants, and as I walked down the side of the car, I rubbed my pants up against the bumper and it took the marks right out!

I never answered the owner of the Mercedes, but they came running over and there was no damage. Reading your post reminded me of that, and how much stress that was, until my pants rubbed that black rubber streak right out of the chrome bumper of the Mercedes.

Isn't life funny?

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11/21/05, 8:48 pm

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