Chicago, IL asked in Car Accidents and Criminal Law for Illinois

Q: Can I sue my father for taking my car while I was out of town?

He was supposed to drive it back from the airport while I was away and leave it parked on May13th. But on May 16th he got into a wreck, he was the at fault driver. He’s refusing to pay more than $500 so I’m want to know if I can still file it as stolen at the time of the accident in Evanston (where it was parked). He got into the crash in Chicago.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: An Illinois attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. A criminal defense attorney could better explain the reasons why it would be a bad idea to report the car stolen. As far as the civil aspects of the matter, one of the first things an accident attorney would probably ask you is whether you looked into your insurance carrier covering the accident. Good luck

Charles Candiano agrees with this answer

Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: If you did not maintain the required insurance on your vehicle, you have a problem because you DID give your father permission to drive the car home from the airport.

You CANNOT report the car "stolen" because it wasn't and you would be committing the crime of false reporting which carries a potential jail term.

If you DO have insurance, simply file a claim with your insurance company.

Do NOT tell the insurance company that your father did not have permission to drive the car because your insurance only covers licensed drivers who DO have your permission.

If your father was the at-fault driver, he is liable for the deductible on your insurance.

Alternatively, if your father owns one or more vehicles, any of which had insurance, his insurance would pay.

If the only valid policy of insurance in effect at the time of the accident was a "liability only" policy, you need to learn whether there was any personal injury or property damage to other vehicles involved (if this was a two-car accident). If this was a one-car accident, you need to learn the amount of damage to other property. For example, if he had a utility pole, you could receive a bill for more than $5000.

So, you can sue your father if he was the at-fault driver but BEFORE you do that, you need to know the amount of your total obligations because that is the amount of money that you would need to sue him for. If neither you nor your father had a valid policy of automobile insurance on the date of the accident, your driver's license will eventually be suspended, indefinitely, until you pay for all of the property damage and personal injury to everyone and everything involved in the accident. If the other car did have a full coverage policy, the occupants of that car will probably process an uninsured motorist claim against their own policy. Once that insurance company is able to identify the total amount paid, it will advise the Illinois Secretary of State which will suspend your driver's license until the Illinois Secretary of State's office receives notice from the other insurance company or the other driver that you have agreed upon a repayment program and that you are making payments. If there are further questions that I did not answer, you're more than welcome to contact me.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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