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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Friend Borrowed Motorcycle, Motorcycle Was Stolen

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: CA

    I had back surgery last October, and since I am not supposed to ride for a while, I offered to lend my motorcycle to a friend who also rides (my bike is much nicer than his), and he gladly accepted the offer. He rode his motorcycle to my house, picked up mine, and parked his in my driveway (it's still parked there). That was about 2 weeks ago. Fast forward to today, and he calls me to tell me that my motorcycle has been stolen from his parking garage. I go to his apartment to file the police report via phone, and at no point does he mention anything to me about reimbursing me for the missing motorcycle. Instead, he says "I'm sorry," and the two mutual friends who are at his place at the time say things like "that sucks, man" to me. Given the attitude of our mutual friends, I decide not to mention anything about who is responsible for the loss.

    The motorcycle was not insured against theft, which he should have known, as he has insurance through the same company and also does not have theft insurance. Essentially, theft insurance on bikes costs ~50% of the value of the vehicle per year, plus a deductible, so few people opt for it unless they have to due to a lease agreement. Prior to the loan of the bike, we signed no paperwork and had no discussion as to what would happen in case of an accident or theft or act of God.

    The question is whether (in the eyes of the law) he is responsible for making me whole (or whatever the legal term is)? I would like to get a knowledgeable opinion about that before I approach him for a follow-up discussion regarding what happened.

    Thanks in advance everyone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Friend Borrowed Motorcycle, Motorcycle Was Stolen

    What act of negligence do you believe he committed that resulted in the theft of the motorcycle?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Friend Borrowed Motorcycle, Motorcycle Was Stolen

    I don't really think that he was negligent, and I (probably naively) don't see why that matters. If I am driving a car and my brakes spontaneously give out through no fault of my own (they were serviced recently but a hungry rat partially chewed through the brake line and the brake line just happened to burst at that moment) and I run into the car in front of me, I believe I am liable for the damage I caused to the vehicle in front of me, even though the accident was not my fault and I wasn't negligent in any way.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Friend Borrowed Motorcycle, Motorcycle Was Stolen

    Quote Quoting csoracco
    View Post
    The motorcycle was not insured against theft
    Here's the major problem.

    which he should have known
    Courts don't work on "should have known". Courts work on "here is proof or indication that he DID know". And even if he did, so what? Your lack of coverage is YOUR problem, not his.


    Essentially, theft insurance on bikes costs ~50% of the value of the vehicle per year, plus a deductible, so few people opt for it unless they have to due to a lease agreement.
    The reason the insurance is so expensive, is that bikes are frequently stolen. Those bike owners who don't purchase adequate theft coverage are spinning the roulette wheel, and a huge portion of those people loose out completely when their bikes go missing. (There's a saying in law enforcement; "if you like that bike, you'd better buy TWO".)

    Prior to the loan of the bike, we signed no paperwork and had no discussion as to what would happen in case of an accident or theft or act of God.
    That would have at least given you SOME leg to stand on, but again, the law is clear about how such things work; courts don't award for damages to bikes for theft or acts of God (again, this is why there is insurance). Accidents are the responsibility of whatever party you can show caused the accident - and accidents have LOTS of causes OTHER than negligence.

    The question is whether (in the eyes of the law) he is responsible for making me whole (or whatever the legal term is)? I would like to get a knowledgeable opinion about that before I approach him for a follow-up discussion regarding what happened.
    Unless you can show that he recklessly and with disregard for the reasonable safety of the bike, acted in such a way that caused the bike to be stolen (which is REALLY hard to do, unless he stuck a "steal me" sign on it, keys in the ignition, etc.). he only has to exercise due and reasonable care. Loss beyond that is the problem of your insurance company, or yourself if you choose not to have applicable coverage.

    Quote Quoting csoracco
    View Post
    I don't really think that he was negligent, and I (probably naively) don't see why that matters. If I am driving a car and my brakes spontaneously give out through no fault of my own (they were serviced recently but a hungry rat partially chewed through the brake line and the brake line just happened to burst at that moment) and I run into the car in front of me, I believe I am liable for the damage I caused to the vehicle in front of me, even though the accident was not my fault and I wasn't negligent in any way.
    But if you are driving a car, you are legally required to have minimal insurance for things JUST like this - regardless of who, if anyone, is at fault.

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