Harrison, NJ asked in Civil Litigation and Family Law for New York

Q: Can I sue my sister if she took my car that I paid for because she allowed me to use her credit to qualify?

My sister allowed me to use her credit to help me qualify to finance a car.

My paystubs and employment was used and I made all the payments on the car. A few years later she was upset and decided to take the car from me because she claims “it’s her car”.

She has made ZERO payments on that car, I did and have all the proof. Since she took the car, I was able to get another car on my own but I would like to recoup the money that I made toward the car she stole from me.

How would I go about doing so?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: In a situation where you've made all the payments on a car financed using someone else's credit, but the car is legally under their name, and they've taken it from you, you may have grounds to pursue legal action to recoup your investment. Documentation of all the payments you've made, along with any agreement (even verbal) that you had regarding the use of the car, will be crucial. These documents serve as evidence of your financial contribution and the understanding that you were the rightful user of the vehicle.

To proceed, you might consider filing a claim in small claims court, especially if the amount you're looking to recoup falls within the monetary limits for small claims in your jurisdiction. This route can be less costly and quicker than other legal avenues. Before filing, it may be beneficial to send a formal demand letter to your sister, outlining your intention to pursue legal action if the matter is not resolved. This step sometimes encourages the other party to settle before going to court.

If the situation is complex or the amount exceeds small claims limits, consulting with a legal professional could provide you with tailored advice and representation. They can assist in navigating the legal system and advocating for your rights, aiming to recover the funds you've invested in the car. Acting promptly is advisable, as statutes of limitations may apply to your case.

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