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By Jordan W. Charness
I was recently called by someone who did not want to give their name. The caller was under 25 years old and had a probationary driver’s licence. He had a friend of the same age who had no driver’s licence at all. That is to say he used to have a licence but it had been suspended because he had accumulated too many demerit points. Neither of these guys owned their own car but nonetheless they decided that they wanted to take a drive.
The one whose licence was suspended suggested that they “borrow” his mother’s car. Although he had not asked permission he assumed, or rather hoped, that she wouldn’t mind. Since he was no longer licensed to drive he tossed the keys to his buddy and told him to drive the car.
The two set out on their mini road trip. For reasons that were never clearly explained to me the driver lost control of the car and smashed it into the sidewalk. He must have been going at a fair clip because the tire collapsed, the wheel bent, and being a front-wheel drive car there was also damage caused to the drive-train. All in all, he estimated that it will cost a few thousand dollars to get it repaired.
Here’s where the story started to get a little strange. The mystery caller wanted to know who he could blame for the accident. Although the weather was clear and there was no pedestrian or other driver involved he still felt that he should not have to pay for the damages.
He was of the opinion that perhaps he should pay for the insurance deductible on the mother’s insurance but that his responsibility ended there. It turned out that the mother did not have two-way insurance on the vehicle. She was only insured for damage caused to other vehicles in case of accident. Damage to her own vehicle was at her expense.
The mother wanted him to pay for the full cost of the repair. His position was that it was partially her fault for leaving the keys to the car out and it was also his friend’s fault for suggesting that he drive. And he wanted his own insurance company to pay for the damage. Basically, he wanted me to tell him how to get other people to pay for the damage that he caused.