Can the Insurance Company Sue

Full Question:

I take care of my daughter's (she is 25 years old) car without ever charging her. I also buy her cars without charge. I do some repairs myself and pay for others I can't repair. On 1/6/10 she called me and said that her car was overheating. When I checked it I told her it could not be driven and needed towing. I said that I would tow it with my jeep and either fix it or get it fixed. She agreed and after towing it for about 5 miles the transmission broke and I could no longer tow it. A tow truck then towed it to a transmission shop which charged $2,800 which I paid. There was also some damage to the front skirting done by the tow rope which has not been fixed. I asked my daughter to file an insurance claim with the insurer. Geico asked my daughter to withdraw the claims saying that through subjugation they would sue me to recover the claim cost. I am an accountant by profession and did not charge my daughter for the towing and paid all the related expenses to repair the transmission. You can generally tow a vehicle a short distance on four wheels without damaging the transmission. Should I give up on the claim to recover my cost? Will the insurance co. be successful in recovering their cost and I'm just wasting my time & money in pursuing the claim through my daughter? I do not feel that I acted negligently in towing the car. I have towed other cars that way without any problem. Thank you.
02/03/2010   |   Category: Negligence   |   State: Delaware   |   #20783

Answer:

When a person fails to fails to uphold a duty of care and that lack of care is the cause of foreseeable harm to another, that person may be found liable for damages due to negligence. Negligence claims require the plaintiff to show the defendant owed a duty of care, that duty was not upheld, and that failure of care caused a foreseeable harm. A failure to obtain required licensing won't prevent a person from being liable and will often be used to prove that applicable standards weren't followed, and therefore the duty of care wasn't upheld.

In negligence cases, the most difficult issue to prove is often causation. In cases of auto damage, expert testimony of mechanics and others may be used to prove the cause of the damage. It would need to be shown that the damage was the result of the defendant's actions or lack of care, and that there were not other causes or contributing factors which would entirely or partly relieve the defendant of liability.

It is possible that the insurer will file a negligence claim against you if your daughter submits a claim. It will be a matter of subjective determination for the court whether there was negligence, based on all the facts and evidence in your situation. Some of the factors, among others the court may consider include what the weather and driving conditions were, whether there was previous transmission trouble, and the method used in towing, and standards for towing by towers in your area.