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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 72101
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My 16 year old son has a claim against him for causing

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Hi,
My 16 year old son has a claim against him for causing accidental damage to a friends car, and I need some advice about the best way to settle the claim. The incident happened on a local country park car park. My sons friend had left the car unattended with the engine running (He had gone off in another car and left the car park), with my son sitting in the drivers seat. Through stupidity, and not understanding how cars work, my son put the car into gear, took his foot off the clutch and stalled the car into a tree about 2-3 feet away. This happened in June, and he has given a statement at the police station, admitting his fault (Back in August). I was told on Friday 5th Oct that one quote has been provided to the police for £2500, so I have asked for two other quotes, and this morning they confirmed they have received two further quotes, but see no requirement to send them to me, as they believe the parts listed are consistent with the damage caused.
Do I just accept that these quotes are legitimate and pay whatever they are asking?
Do I have a right to see the quotes?
Should some responsibility be put on my sons friend as he had left the car unattended with the engine running?
The car was a 2001 VW beetle, approximate worth £1,000-£1,500. The owner (mother) has also offered that we can replace the car instead of having it repaired, she has told the police a similar car is £2,000.
Can I negotiate?
Any advice would be appreciated.
James
Assistant: Do you need to appear in court?
Customer: No, as long as we pay for the damage this will not be necessary.
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

What action are the police proposing?

Is this part of a conditional caution?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The police would rather it was settled out of court, and leave it at that. I don't believe any further action will be taken if we pay for the damage.

No, it probably won't.

But the risk is that they will take action if you don't pay.

If you want to demand that you see the other quotes then you could refuse to pay the existing one unless they provide.

The risk you are running is that the police will just charge you son though.

In fairness, he is clearly responsible for this and you are responsible for him so the risks are high.

I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He has accepted responsibility, and I am prepared to pay for the damage, my concern is that the quotes seem excessive and considering the car is 17 years old, and has now been off the road since June, I don't want to be paying for damage not caused by the incident. I guess the bot***** *****ne is, I pay whatever they are asking, and if I try and ask for proof of costs, then I run the risk of the police just charging my son and going to court. So really I have no option? As a side question, is leaving you car unattended with the engine running an offence?

Yes, I understand your concern.

The risk is that if you don't pay then they will charge him.

It depends upon how strongly you feel about this.

No particular offence in leaving a car unattended with an engine running. It is just stupid but then people are.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Obviously the last thing I want is for my son to get charged for making a stupid mistake, and so I want to avoid this escalating further. I am willing to pay, I would just like to know what I am paying for. Would it be unwise to go back to the police and demand I see the quotes before I make payment. I haven't seen any quotes, I have just been told over the phone that the first quote was for £2500 from a small local garage. Thanks, Jim

I think you have to take a risk management approach depending on the reactions of the police.

If you want to avoid him being charged at all costs and you can pay the sum quoted then I would just pay it and not take risks.

Generally speaking, the police don't like taking actions like this.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
just to confirm my position before I get back to the police; I have no legal right to see the quotes, and if I demand to see them the risk is the police could scale this up and charge my son. I presume the police will look at these quotes, and be confident they are above board and not created out of thin air? I just want to make sure due diligence has been done, and i'm not paying for someones Christmas. Thanks for your help, Jim

You do have a legal right to see the quotes - to the extent that you could refuse to pay, invite him to sue, wait until he does and then demand that the judge reviews the quotes to be satisfied it is an economical one.

In the meantime your son will probably be charged.

I doubt the police will do anything. I am amazed they are willing to deal with it in this way. It is not really what they do. It makes sense that it should be resolved in this way but it isn't normally an action of the police.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Seems to me I don't have much choice but to pay. If I refuse to pay and they sue, my son will be charged and I presume he will get a criminal record, and I will then start incurring legal fees, which would probably out way any reduction I may potentially get if the Judge decides the quotes are too high.

No, I agree.

Legal rights aren't really the issue here. The issue is risk management.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
If it was me and not my son, I may be more inclined to take the risk, but it's not worth playing the game with my sons future. Thanks for your help and great service, and I have a much clearer picture of where I stand now. Jim

I fully agree.

No problem and all the best.

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