Who will be sued in an underage auto accident? 31 Answers as of May 10, 2011

My 16yo daughter was driving my SUV when she was involved in an accident that injured another driver. My daughter was at fault. The vehicle was insured and licensed under my name. The injured driver is threatening to sue. Can she sue me, or would she sue my daughter. Thank you

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Dearbonn Law Offices
Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
The injured driver can sue you. Your daughter is a minor, you, as her parent will be sued in her stead, moreover. the vehicle was insured and licensed under your name. The cause of action is against you.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/10/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
The other driver can and will sue both you and your daughter but the only one who will be affected will be you unfortunately. However, your insurance company will handle it for you and you may have to hire an attorney to cover any overage exposure you may have. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
I don't have a clear answer on your liability for the actions of your minor child, but I do know that you need to put your insurer on notice of the claim. Your insurance company has two obligations: 1) indemnify and 2) defend. They must provide you counsel as long as your daughter was a permissive user and not otherwise excluded from the policy. Let your insurance company handle it. They are obligated to settle the claim, if possible, within your policy limits to avoid any risk to your personal assets. If it looks like the insurance company is not going to honor its obligations under the contract, then hire your own counsel. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/6/2011
Allegretti & Associates
Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
Your daughter and you can both be sued. The issue as to you is whether she was doing something for you or the family or whether she has a very bad driving record and you should not have entrusted the vehicle to her. As to her the issue is whether she was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. Your insurance company will defend both of you.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/6/2011
David B. Sacks, P.A.
David B. Sacks, P.A. | David Sacks
The owner and driver of the car are sued in any accident.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/6/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Probably both. Contact your insurance carrier. It will provide counsel if it cannot settle the matter. Also, I would not get into the proverbial "shouting match" with the driver. Give him,/her the insurance info and direct them to contact the carrier.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Premier Law Group
    Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
    If a lawsuit needs to be filed by the injured party, they will likely sue both your daughter and you. Your insurance company has a duty to defend and indemnify (pay any money) that results. If a lawsuit is filed your insurance company will appoint a lawyer for you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Both but your insurance company will arrange for representation for you both assuming she was a permitted driver.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    The owner of the vehicle will ultimately be sued. You need to make your insurance company aware of the situation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP | Murray L. Bristol
    Under the law your daughter can be sued individually. You could also be sued if the Plaintiff could prove negligent entrustment on your part.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    You can sue you and your daughter as you are the owner of the vehicle. You should contact your insurance company who should defend the case for you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    You can be sued but it really makes little difference who is sued. The only recovery available is from your insurance policy. You cannot be held liable for your daughter's negligence. This is what is referred to as parental immunity and the only exception is for willful, malicious behavior and the limit of liability is $1,000.00 but I do not see this being a problem in your case. The claim against you would be for negligent entrustment. That is, you knew your daughter was a bad driver and let her drive anyway. It is rare this type of claim is successful.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
    Since your daughter was a minor at the time of the accident, either one of her parents can be sued "as parent and next best friend" of the minor. In either event, the auto insurance policy under which she was covered should appoint defense counsel on your behalf and indemnify you for any judgment obtained, within the policy limits.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
    1st in most cases no one is sued, since, your insurance company will settle the claim. The plaintiff will probably sue your daughter and you as the parent. If either of you are sued you need to refer to your insurance company and make sure they defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    The injured party would have the ability to sue both of you - but your insurance will defend you and pay any judgment against both of you. You should turn the matter over to your insurer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    In NC lawyers usually sue the driver and the owner. The insurance should cover both.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Cary J. Wintroub
    The probable lawsuit is against your daughter. There may be a negligent entrustment theory against you but it is a difficult action to prove and unlikely.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq.
    Law Office of William R. Falcone, Esq. | William R. Falcone
    They will sue you and your daughter. You need to check your auto insurance liability limits for property damage and bodily injury. If you do not feel your insurance is sufficient to cover the injured parties damages, then you need to contact an attorney to represent your interests relative to the exposure above your policy limits. The insurance company will defend the claim and provide a lawyer to defend the lawsuit, but they are only responsible to pay the policy limits. So you can have your own counsel involved to try to keep any settlement or verdict below the limits if possible. This is a tricky area of the insurance law, so you need someone familiar with insurance law and personal injury law. I hope this answer helps, and good luck resolving your legal matter.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    If I was representing the injured person, I would sue both your daughter as the driver/negligent person, and you as the owner of the vehicle. In Florida, we have a doctrine called dangerous instrumentality, and the owner of a vehicle is just as liable as the driver as long as the driver had the permission of the owner to use the SUV. Your insurance on your vehicle will cover both of you, and your insurance company will provide you with a defense if you are both sued. I would ask the insurance adjuster to keep you in the loop and try to get your adjuster to settle the case so you and your daughter don't get sued.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    Both the driver and vehicle owner would be defendants in the lawsuit. Your daughter would be sued for her negligent operation of the vehicle. You would be named as a defendant as the vehicle owner, because there is a legal presumption that the driver was an agent of the vehicle owner at the time of the accident. You would be dismissed from the case if there was no proof of agency. Nevertheless, if you and/or your daughter were sued, your insurance company would hire a lawyer (many of them now have lawyers as employees, and make them appear as a private law firm), to handle the litigation. If you haven't done so already, report this to your insurance company, which your insurance contract most likely requires you to do, and let them handle it.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A.
    Beaver Holt Sternlicht and Courie, P.A. | Mark A. Sternlicht
    The injured driver can sue your daughter, you, or both. If suit is filed, be sure to tell your insurance company immediately.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Regardless of who she sues, if you have liability insurance, your insurer will hire an attorney to defend the suit, and will pay damages up to the policy limits. Normally, you daughter will be sued as the at fault driver. You might also be sued if your daughter lives with you based on a law known as the Family Purpose Doctrine.

    The Family Purpose Doctrine provides that a vehicle owner is liable for the negligence of a household member who Is driving a car that the owner provides for household members for convenience of the household.

    The good news for you is that your insurer will pay for any damages up to the policy limits, and mot Plaintiffs/claimants are willing to settle for the policy limits.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    Since you are the owner of the SUV, both you and your daughter can be sued for the accident. The claim falls under something called the family purpose doctrine. Regardless, the same insurance policy applies, no matter who ultimately is sued. You should report any information on the matter to your insurance carrier as soon as you receive it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    She would sue you both. Since you own the car, they would sue you for negligent entrustment and her for negligence. They might throw in some other counts also. If you have insurance, notify your insurance company. If not, talk to an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    She would sue both of you. As the owner of the car, you are liable for a maximum of $20,000 (I believe its $15,000 for injury and $5,000 for property damage). Your daughter can be sued for the full amount of all damage. Hopefully, you have sufficient insurance and they will cover both of you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    The owner and operator of a vehicle is liable for injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    The injured driver will probably sue both of you. Your daughter is liable as the "at fault" driver. You would be liable under a concept referred to as the "family car doctrine." Both of you will be insured for this through your insurance company. So if you haven't already, make sure that the accident has been reported to your insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC
    Law Offices of Timothy G. Kearney, LLC | Timothy G. Kearney
    If you are insured you should turn the information over to your insurance carrier. In the event that they do not settle the claim they can sue you but your insurance company is obligated to defend the action for you. You may want to discuss this with an attorney who can provide you with some information/guidance as to how to proceed. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    She would sue your daughter. However, because your daughter is covered under your insurance, the insurance company should step in and defend the suit, and pay whatever settlement or judgment comes from it.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/5/2011
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