Parenting & Family

Son scratched a car by accident

  • Last Updated:
  • May 24th, 2017 9:24 am
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 30, 2017
6 posts
7 upvotes

Son scratched a car by accident

Short version: son and friends pulling an old xmas tree across a school parking lot. Dragging it past a car and a couple grade 12 boys ran after them. My son dropped the tree and ran. Now parents claim the tree scratched and dented the car and want us to cover damages. I fail to believe a 13yr old boy letting go of the tree, even if it touched the car, could do more than a hairline scratch...these are just small evergreen needles that 'may' have touched or scratched the car.
Should we agree to pay or refuse based on it being an accident and them claiming considerably more damage than what could have occured?
46 replies
Newbie
Dec 6, 2016
40 posts
13 upvotes
Calgary, AB
RBosche wrote:
Mar 31st, 2017 9:17 pm
Short version: son and friends pulling an old xmas tree across a school parking lot. Dragging it past a car and a couple grade 12 boys ran after them. My son dropped the tree and ran. Now parents claim the tree scratched and dented the car and want us to cover damages. I fail to believe a 13yr old boy letting go of the tree, even if it touched the car, could do more than a hairline scratch...these are just small evergreen needles that 'may' have touched or scratched the car.
Should we agree to pay or refuse based on it being an accident and them claiming considerably more damage than what could have occured?
Are the parents of the damaged car providing pictures of the damage or do they have proof your child caused the damage?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 9, 2007
7822 posts
2709 upvotes
Toronto
RBosche wrote:
Mar 31st, 2017 9:17 pm
Short version: son and friends pulling an old xmas tree across a school parking lot. Dragging it past a car and a couple grade 12 boys ran after them. My son dropped the tree and ran. Now parents claim the tree scratched and dented the car and want us to cover damages. I fail to believe a 13yr old boy letting go of the tree, even if it touched the car, could do more than a hairline scratch...these are just small evergreen needles that 'may' have touched or scratched the car.
Should we agree to pay or refuse based on it being an accident and them claiming considerably more damage than what could have occured?
If this happened to you, what would you do? What if someone's kid dropped the tree hits your car and runs? Well of course ya'll want the parents to pay up.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2013
2394 posts
973 upvotes
It is very possible it scratched the car. Get pictures and look at it. And again how would you feel if it was your car?
Deal Addict
Apr 9, 2010
2397 posts
545 upvotes
Montreal
Tell them you're unwilling to even consider paying without seeing pictures of the damage and getting a second opinion/estimate from someone you know.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
13969 posts
4494 upvotes
Tree branches can easily scratch a car, so let's take out the assumption that this could not cause damage. We're not talking thousands of dollars of damage, they are scratches that could be easily buffed out but to many people they could look more severe because they have no knowledge of the repair process.

I would take a look at the vehicle with an objective mind, and evaluate the evidence objectively. If the damage lines up with their story then it seems highly likely your son caused the damage. Split the cost of repair between your son and any other children that were holding the tree with him (if he was the only one holding onto the tree then it's 100% on him) - this is the amount you should pay. The vehicle owner can then go after the other child/ren for the rest of the damage. What is fair is that, if your child was holding the tree that caused the damage, your child pay his share. It's not fair if three kids were holding it and all dropped it that your son pay 100% of the damage - this is why you (and the other party) need to look at it with an objective mind.


If you are in doubt then offer a compromise to the owner. You select a body shop and have an actual repair technician provide their opinion as to whether the damage may have been caused by a tree. If there is a possibility, then pay up. What would be the odds that someone has pre-existing damage AND your child just happened to drop a Christmas tree next to or on their vehicle?
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
15938 posts
1853 upvotes
TrevorK wrote:
Apr 1st, 2017 11:20 pm
Tree branches can easily scratch a car, so let's take out the assumption that this could not cause damage. We're not talking thousands of dollars of damage, they are scratches that could be easily buffed out but to many people they could look more severe because they have no knowledge of the repair process.
If you can buff out the scratch it's not very serious - if there is any real damage I think you have to repaint?
Sr. Member
Nov 13, 2013
648 posts
219 upvotes
OTTAWA
If you have to repainted it can quickly get expensive if if it is only one small scratch or dent. I would not admit any liability and look at the damage and see if it is reasonable that it was caused by a tree if so go with The above approach. If the dent is rusted or something is clearly off I would ask them for proof which if you are a jerk youncould do anyway. Can't see them having much of a case in small claims court without some impartial witnesses.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
13969 posts
4494 upvotes
coolspot wrote:
Apr 2nd, 2017 2:51 am
If you can buff out the scratch it's not very serious - if there is any real damage I think you have to repaint?
The challenge is that the average person does not know whether a scratch can be buffed out or not - all they know is that their car is scratched. It looks serious to them because they have no idea how it is fixed, but it looks like a big deal.
Deal Addict
Apr 28, 2004
1668 posts
256 upvotes
Toronto
RBosche wrote:
Mar 31st, 2017 9:17 pm
Short version: son and friends pulling an old xmas tree across a school parking lot. Dragging it past a car and a couple grade 12 boys ran after them. My son dropped the tree and ran. Now parents claim the tree scratched and dented the car and want us to cover damages. I fail to believe a 13yr old boy letting go of the tree, even if it touched the car, could do more than a hairline scratch...these are just small evergreen needles that 'may' have touched or scratched the car.
Should we agree to pay or refuse based on it being an accident and them claiming considerably more damage than what could have occured?
You know, there's so many things wrong with your post and all you care about is the damage cost?

1. Why was your kid even dragging a tree at all AND so close to other parked cars? Were they being idiots or were doing this under adult supervision?
2. It's April, where do you even find an "old" xmas tree at this time of year?!?
3. Where is your concern that your 13 yr old son seems to be BULLIED by two older 17-18 yr old boys?
4. Which "parents" are claiming the car damage? (a) Your son's friends that were dragging the tree too? (b) Parents of the 17-18 yr olds bullying your son? (c) Complete strangers that just happens to be there to witness your son dropping the tree? (a)(b) would not see a single cent for different reasons.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 30, 2017
6 posts
7 upvotes
So not so much there are several things wrong with my post as you needing clarification...I have other concerns but my reason for coming on this forum is to determine if I should be paying for damage that my son 'may have' done to the car. Excuse me for not disclosing everything in fine detail.

So...here r ur answers

1) My son and his friends are 13/14yr olds in a school yard...no parent supervision. Two boys brought the tree from one of their yards and dumped it in the parking lot prior to my son ariving. When my son was leaving with a couple other boys, he opted to drag the tree over to the grass but dropped it when the older boy chased after him

2) Not my concern where the tree came from ( a lazy homeowner who couldn't be bothered to get rid of it?) but answered in #1

3) I have little concern about what transpired with the boys providing it stays as a one off

4) The parents whose care supposedly got damaged are also the parents of the boy who chased my son away
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 30, 2017
6 posts
7 upvotes
I have had so many peope and kids scratch and dent my cars by accident...I can't be bothered pursueing them looking for $. I have no intention of paying. My son was trying to remove the tree from a school parking lot that other kids dumped there and because these people's 18yr old opted to chase after my son, he dropped the tree and run. Perhaps if he did not run after my 13yr old, the tree would not have been dropped.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 12, 2006
4067 posts
411 upvotes
Barrys Bay
RBosche wrote:
Mar 31st, 2017 9:17 pm
Short version: son and friends pulling an old xmas tree across a school parking lot. Dragging it past a car and a couple grade 12 boys ran after them. My son dropped the tree and ran. Now parents claim the tree scratched and dented the car and want us to cover damages. I fail to believe a 13yr old boy letting go of the tree, even if it touched the car, could do more than a hairline scratch...these are just small evergreen needles that 'may' have touched or scratched the car.
Should we agree to pay or refuse based on it being an accident and them claiming considerably more damage than what could have occured?
Yes it can cause more than scratch and dent by dragging a tree past a car. Dragging means tree was to heavy to lift and chances are will damage car even more. Drive slow and touching a few trees and see for yourself the damage that can occur.

So your using excuse of chasers caused your son to drop tree they shouldn't had been moving as excuse for liability. Maybe the chasers where ones that had tree where it was and was not to be moved and your son stole it!

I simply see other person filing a police report, and son question and insurance being contacted. And you will have a small claim on file. And damages to be fixed will be less than your deducutable.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 8, 2008
3566 posts
1009 upvotes
Toronto
I have kids a similar age as yours and I feel for you, the whole situation sucks. Unfortunately, I think you're ultimately responsible for it, even if their son precipitated it, and even if everything was an accident. You could call a non emergency police line to get their opinion on it, but yeah, I think you're liable. I would pay - and I'd ask for photos and quotes. I also wouldn't be reprimanding my kid over it, it wasn't intentional.

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