Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

My son used my truck and let his friend drive it and he wrecked it a total lost the kid is a minor and i had to buy a replacement and that and the costs to upgrade exceeded what insurance paid me by $8500 the parent to the boy who wrecked it said that he had my sons permission to drive it so they dont have to pay for it. What do you think? even though my son told him he could drive it he didnt say he can wreck it. Do I have a legal right to sue or are they legally lible to pay for upgrade. The boy hit a tree and my insurace paid me off cause in california ins follows vehicle .

Asked on 2/14/11, 12:29 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

You're right. That the boy had your son's permission to drive the truck does not mean he had permission to wreck it. He is liable for your losses to the extent that he caused them. His parents are financially responsible for harm he causes, at least up to a point.

Bear in mind that the appropriate amount to sue for is the entire loss, not just the amount your insurance didn't cover. The insurer will then be entitled to reimbursement. If you sue for only a portion of the loss, the insurer might claim some or all of it from you.

If the boy's family can afford to pay, your insurance company might be willing to sue them on your behalf. Such a lawsuit would seek to recover both the insurer's payment and the excess amount of your loss. You should discuss this with your insurer before you take any action on your own.

Good luck.

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Answered on 2/14/11, 12:35 pm
Richard T. Rosenstein, Esq. ROSENSTEIN LAW OFFICES 1-888-500-5291

You are only entitled to recover the reasonable value of the totaled vehicle. You are not entitled to an upgrade.

If your insurance company deemed your vehicle a total and it paid you the full reasonable value for your vehicle, you would not be entitled to recover for an upgrade. In that case, your insurance carrier would be entitled to subrogate against the liable third parties for the amount that they paid out to settle your insurance claim.

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Answered on 2/14/11, 12:45 pm

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