North Carolina  |  Intellectual Property

Legal Question

Asked on: 6/07/13, 5:17 pm

my motorcycle burned up in my friends garage, I didn't have insurance on it, he said he would make it up to me by painting my car, he is ignoring me and has been for the last 3 months, can I sue him

2 Answers


Answered on: 6/07/13, 9:22 pm by Kenneth Love

It depends. First, without more facts, we can't determine if your friend is responsible for your motorcycle. We don't know why it was in his garage. The loss of your motorcycle would be most likely considered negligence at best, if there is any liability on your friend's part at all. Not having insurance on it, would likely be considered negligence on your part.

North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. This means that if you are negligent at all in your loss, you can't collect from your friend.

Now, your friend promised to paint your car. If he was not liable for the loss, it is questionable if a contract formed as both parties have to give something called "consideration" to each other...i.e. I pay you $50 to paint my car. I gave up money and he did work for me. Here there may be no consideration given to him.

Further, this last paragraph is assuming he admits to agreeing to such. If this is an oral agreement, you will have a tough time proving he made such a promise.

You also may want to repost this in the civil lawsuits section or in contracts. This is not an intellectual property question. IP questions relate to patents, copyrights, and the like.


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Ken Love Law 3410 Healy Drive Winston Salem, NC 27103

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Answered on: 6/08/13, 7:05 am by John Kirby

The main issues would be (a) whether your friend or anyone else was negligent in causing the fire and (b) whether your friend had homeowners insurance. If someone was negligent in causing the fire, then you would have a claim against that person. If your friend had homeowners (or renters) insurance, then it might cover these items. The failure to carry your own insurance is generally not considered contributory negligence. If your friend does not have any insurance and if you cannot prove who was negligent, then you probably have no recourse, notwithstanding his promise to paint the car; the comments about "consideration" in this regard are correct.


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Law Offices of John M. Kirby 2501 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 250 Raleigh, NC 27607-6479

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