Who is legally responsible if a minor causes an accident? 20 Answers as of June 26, 2013

If a minor (42 days away from being 18) chooses to drive a vehicle (registered in the minor's name) without car insurance and without the consent of the parent/guardian - who is legally responsible if the minor is involved in an accident?

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Patrick M Lamar Attorney
Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
If a minor (42 days away from being 18) chooses to > drive a vehicle (registered in the minor's name) without car insurance > and without the consent of the parent/guardian - who is legally > responsible if the minor is involved in an accident.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/26/2013
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
In Louisiana the parents of the minor are still responsible for his torts until he is a major. Also, if the vehicle is registered in the minor's name, it had to have been done by a parent or guardian, which may also bring up the question of whether or not there was a negligent entrustment of a vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/19/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
The parents might be liable for a limited amount of damages (there is a statute but I do not recall offhand) but if the car is titled in the minors name alone, the minor should be primarily liable.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/19/2011
Kirshner & Groff
Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
Speak to a lawyer. Parents can be held responsible for their minor child's negligence.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/19/2011
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
Consult with and retain an accident or personal injury attorney to represent the minor and his parent(s), who could be held liable for the son's negligence in causing the accident..
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Parents are not normally liable for the torts of their children. In this case if the parents helped engineer this debacle and helped this child break the rules they may incur some liability.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    If the vehicle is registered in the minor's name, that person's name also on the title? If so, it is the minor who is legally liable, age notwithstanding. If the 42 days have passed, that person is no longer a minor and can be sued. If the title is in the parent/guardian's name, just saying "I did not give permission" is not enough. As for the insurance, if there is no coverage, then the other party can look to their own Uninsured Motorist coverage: when you buy insurance, one of the events you are insuring yourself against is the possibility that you could get into an accident with an uninsured driver. It is required for just that reason.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You did not answer who owns the car. If not the minor, then the owner is liable for up to $15,000 bodily injury claims and $5,000 for property damage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    The main person legally responsible for a motor vehicle collision is the person (if any) who drove negligently. If the negligent driver was a minor, the minor who drove negligently owes the injured party for the damages. Of course, many minors are judgment-proof due to insufficient assets and minors can sometimes avoid debts by declaring bankruptcy, too. RCW 4.24.190 establishes an action against parents for willful injury to person or property by a minor by saying the following: "The parent or parents of any minor child under the age of eighteen years who is living with the parent or parents and who shall willfully or maliciously destroy or deface property, real or personal or mixed, or who shall willfully and maliciously inflict personal injury on another person, shall be liable to the owner of such property or to the person injured in a civil action at law for damages in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars. This section shall in no way limit the amount of recovery against the parent or parents for their own common law negligence. [1996 c 35 2; 1992 c 205 116; 1977 ex.s. c 145 1; 1967 ex.s. c 46 1; 1961 c 99 1.] (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.24.190). Parents are usually not automatically vicariously liable for the torts of their children, but where parents knew or should have known of a child's dangerous proclivities, then the parents may be liable for negligent supervision. S
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    The owner and the uninsured operator. The minority of the driver has no effect on the case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    The minor and the minor's parent are both responsible. Report it to your insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    The minor.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Premier Law Group
    Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
    That is a complicated scenario. However, depending on the facts, the minor's parents may be held liable.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    the person who signed for the minor's driver's license.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Minor is definitely responsible. All Owners of car are responsible. Parent may be responsible. If there's no insurance then most attorneys won't bother.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC
    Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC | Richard Copeland
    The likelihood is that the parent and minor will be jointly and severally liable for the injuries and damages the minor's driving causes. Joint and several liability means the injured party can collect from either the parent or minor. The reason for this is that Colorado requires parents of minor applicants for a driver's license to sign a Form 2460, Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship. Parents across the state sign these little forms without giving a thought to the possibility that they've just put at risk all they've worked for so hard over the years. The liability ends when the youngster turns eighteen. You were forty-two days to being off the hook.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    The minor is responsible unless the minor's parents are somehow negligent themselves in giving the minor access to the car when they had knowledge the minor was hazardous or negligently entrusting the minor with their vehicle. In Oregon there is also the family purpose doctrine that allows you to sue the parents if the car was used for family "business" by the minor. In most cases however, the minor is responsible for their own actions and if there is no insurance involved you have to look to your own uninsured motorist policy to cover your damages because most minors are not worth suing individually.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/18/2011
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