My financée was involved in an accident that was not her fault. The other driver's insurance does not want to cover the cost of damages. Here is where it gets complicated.

  • The car belonged to my financée's mother
  • My financée was driving
  • My financée's mother did not want to fix the car since it was for sale at the time of the accident
  • The car has since been sold

We had an estimate done for damages (~$4000) at a body shop before the car was sold. Would we still be able to file a lawsuit without having ownership of the car? If so, would it be my financée (driver) or her mother (vehicle owner) who would file the lawsuit?

  • 3
    What does "the other driver's insurance does not want to cover the cost of damages" even mean? Nobody wants to cover damages, the entire point is whether they must cover or not, and you should be talking to your own insurance company or legal representative about this.
    – user4657
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 5:02
  • 1
    @Nij they don't want to, as in they are denying that their driver was liable. My financée's mother's insurance agreed that she wasn't at fault, but is a smaller insurance company and wouldn't offer any help unless we decided to get the damages fixed.
    – Travis
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 15:53
  • . @Travis, the other person bought the vehicle with $4,000 worth of damages to it? I am not sure the current ownership of the car really matters. It would likely depend on who can claim an injury, but if the crash happened, $4k damage done, and the car was sold without a hiccup (don't know how this is possible), then it doesn't sound like there is anything to sue for. Had the mother had to spend $4k to get it fixed, this outcome may be different. Should def talk to an attorney, though, to be sure and to check in your jurisdiction.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


Yes you can file a lawsuit

Since it is your mother that suffered the damage it is she who would have to sue. She would have to provide evidence of the damage she suffered: presumably the difference between what she got paid for the damaged car compared to what she hypothetically would have been paid for the undamaged car.

That's where it gets tricky - without agreement on the hypothetical undamaged value (which you won't get) you will have to introduce evidence that the sale price was actually lower than it would have been. They would then introduce evidence that your valuation was ridiculously inflated and that at most your loss was $250 (say). The cost to repair is irrelevant - you didn't incur this cost and it is unlikely to bear any correlation to the diminution in the sale price. Good luck.

  • 1
    So selling a car with damage that the insurance company hasn't paid for yet is just a bad idea. In the UK, I usually don't have to prove how much the damage was, the insurance company sends me to a repair shop, they fix the car, I don't even know how much the damage is. But obviously if I sell the car, or refuse to get it repaired, I'd have to prove the damage.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 13:16

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