Can I sue my friend for crashing my car?
Motor Vehicles Accidents - April 14, 2022
If your friend borrows your car and they end up wrecking it, it can put you in a very difficult and awkward position of having to ask them to pay for the repairs.
Worse yet, your friend might refuse to contribute financially, leaving you to pick up the bill for the damage. In this case, you might consider suing your friend for crashing your car.
Sure, You Can Sue…But You Might Want to Consider Mediation First
Although you can sue your friend for crashing your car, there are other options to consider that don’t cost as much time and money, such as mediation.
Benefits of Mediation
There are several benefits of mediation before litigation. The first is that the costs associated with mediation are generally much less than taking your claim to court.
The same goes with time – mediation is not as time-consuming as filing a lawsuit and going to court and all of the preparation in between.
If your friend crashed your car, another benefit to mediation is that it can help maintain the relationship you have with your friend by bringing up the issue in a civil way. Further litigation will more than likely put a strain on you and your friends’ relationship.
Another Option: Go to Small Claims Court
If you attempt mediation and fail to come to an agreement, or your friend is unwilling to try mediation, you may be thinking, suing your friend may be a more viable option.
You can file a lawsuit and take your friend to small claims court if the claim meets the small claims court requirements. In Illinois, there are small claims complaint forms approved for statewide use. Click here to look over the forms and check out a free guided interview about the process.
After you file your small claims complaint forms, the legal process starts.
Small Claims Litigation
If you intend to sue your friend in small claims court for crashing your car, one important thing you should know is that in Illinois, small claims court limits “small claims” to $10,000 or less. The damages that your friend owes you may fall well below this limit, or it may be over the limit – it completely depends on what types of damages you are suing for and their amount.
If you have a brand-new luxury car and there was significant damage done when your friend crashed it, then your case may exceed the $10,000. Due to the recovery limitation in small claims court, you can only recover $10,000 in small claims court, even if your damages were more than that. If you want to recover the complete amount of damages, you may be able to file a claim in civil court, depending on the facts of your case.
Friend Crash Your Car? Call Us for Advice
The statute of limitations for small claims regarding property damage is five years. That means that you have five years from the date of the incident to file your claim in small claims court.
However, having up to five years to sue does not mean that you should wait. If you intend to try mediation, you should start that process as soon as possible. Small claims court starts counting the five years from the day of the accident, not from the day mediation fails.
If you attempt mediation unsuccessfully and you decide to sue, ensure you’ll have time to correctly submit all of your small claims complaint forms and get an attorney if you want legal assistance.
If your friend crashed your car and you aren’t sure what to do, call us for advice. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has experienced Chicago car accident lawyers who can help you figure out a plan of what to do next.
For three generations, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has fought for the people of Illinois, and our attorneys have over three decades of trial experience.
You don’t have to figure out how to deal with suing a friend all by yourself – we can help. Call (800) 985-1819 today to schedule a free case consultation to get advice from an attorney.