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How to (best) pursue legal action when someone borrowed a truck, and didn’t repair it as arranged and damaged the body?

#1
I live with my girlfriend and her mother. My girlfriend has a truck she’s supposed to be inheriting soon, her grandfather picked it out with her to pass to her once he passed away, knowing he wasn’t going to live long. He passed away now, and the truck is in my girlfriends grandmothers name until she’s pays off a loan on it. Well the truck needed some serisous, but not too expensive repairs. My girlfriends mother’s best friend, a couple but not married are fixing a house they just bought. The man is basically a mechanic, so my girlfriends mom made an verbal/text arrangement with them that they would fix the truck, do what’s needed to make it drivable. In exchange they got to use our truck to haul shingles to fix the roof, they said it would take a week.

My girlfriends grandmother does not live with us, and the truck was at our house. So she originally did not know of the arrangement, but the truck was not returned after a week. And she eventually noticed it was gone. The truck does not have insurance on it, so of course she was very pissed. She was told it was just getting fixed, and later told it was used to haul shingles. And she was very upset finding this out. Now the truck was returned, only because my girlfriend blew up at them saying the truck needs to be back because we will need to use it soon. They where pissed off, so when no one was home they returned the truck, took off one of the tires because they fixed that, then stuck a different random tire under the truck and left it sitting on 3 wheels and laying on an hold random tire. Then removed the parts they put in it.

We held up our end completely, but they went back and removed their end of the deal. In addition they also put a LOT of new body damage on the truck. I talked to the man via text but unfortunately he’s very immature and mostly just cusses me out. But he denies doing any body damage at all. We don’t have before pictures of what body damage was there and what wasn’t, and he knows that. However we do know what the truck looked like beforehand, as do several family friends. And in addition we can demonstrate a good deal of the new scratches because they’re stained brown/dark from the shingles scraping the trucks paint.

Now the truck is legally my girlfriends grandmothers, so I assume any legal action would have to be started by her. My question is, what would be the best way to go about this? What would be enough to demonstrate the conditions of the arrangement? Some was text, some was verbal. Is the dark scratches from shingles enough to get them to account for all the body damage? (They clearly ran against something and scrapped it but that’s not dark) What would be the best charges to pursue? If they would of rented a U-Haul pickup truck it would of been a $750 bill, before the big amount of body damage. Can we try to charge them for the time and miles they had on it, plus the body damages? Or to have the parts fixed by a Ford dealership (obviously we don’t trust them anymore) and have the bill sent to them, they told us what they did then removed. Then the same thing with having the body damage repaired? Otherwise would her grandmother have the ground to go after them for stealing it and damaging it? She was not okay with the arrangement, and found out only right before the truck came back, so she didn’t consent to them having it at all. They only got permission from my girlfriends mother, who doesn’t own it in anyway but gave them a key.

Thanks for your time reading this!!
 


adjusterjack

It's a Dry Heat
#3
Now the truck is legally my girlfriends grandmothers, so I assume any legal action would have to be started by her.
Correct.

Nobody stole anything.

Grandma is free to get a repair estimate, file suit in small claims court, and present whatever evidence she can come up with.

There is no "best" way, and so many people just screwed the pooch on this deal that it's anybody's guess as to whether Grandma would win in court.
 

Zigner

Senior Member
#4
Grandma should sue mom (in addition to the folks who did the damage). Then, grandma can choose who to collect from and let the judgment debtors work it out amongst themselves.
 
#6
Grandma should sue mom (in addition to the folks who did the damage). Then, grandma can choose who to collect from and let the judgment debtors work it out amongst themselves.
So your saying she can sue Mom, and the people who damaged the vehicle. But then only collect from the people who did the damage? I’d hate to see mom get charged for trying to help, these people where always trustworthy in the past. But life isn’t always fair I know.
 
#7
Correct.

Nobody stole anything.

Grandma is free to get a repair estimate, file suit in small claims court, and present whatever evidence she can come up with.

There is no "best" way, and so many people just screwed the pooch on this deal that it's anybody's guess as to whether Grandma would win in court.
Without before pictures, do you think the shingle stains in the new scratches would be enough evidence to at least get those taken care of? Those scratches where half the damage.
 

Zigner

Senior Member
#8
So your saying she can sue Mom, and the people who damaged the vehicle. But then only collect from the people who did the damage? I’d hate to see mom get charged for trying to help, these people where always trustworthy in the past. But life isn’t always fair I know.
Grandma can choose any or all of the folks to collect against. The fact that you seem to think it's ok for your mom to "loan" things that aren't hers to "loan" is a bit puzzling. You made it quite clear that mom had no authorization to do so...why shouldn't mom be held liable?
 
#9
Grandma can choose any or all of the folks to collect against. The fact that you seem to think it's ok for your mom to "loan" things that aren't hers to "loan" is a bit puzzling. You made it quite clear that mom had no authorization to do so...why shouldn't mom be held liable?
Okay thanks! And to be clear, the point was my girlfriends mom just wanted the vehicle that her daughter was getting soon to be safe as it had some issues that could turn serious. Her grandmother gambles her money away and let the trucks condition be neglected, thus the arrangement to have it fixed. I agree it was wrong though since she didn’t have the authority to do that. But it is what is no matter the intent.
 
#10
This has nothing to do with the current situation. I just want to mention to the op that unless there is more than has been described here, don’t be surprised if his girlfriend doesn’t end up with the truck.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#11
"We" is not a party to all this
.and it's not clear exactly who holds title /ownership ....but anyway ..the owner needs to sue everybody connected with the use/abuse of the truck w/o owners permission...and let defendants fight among themselves..GET q written repair estimate, better yet get it repaired and have an actual billl .