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Young adult driver involved in accident. Can parents be sued even if adult child is not on parents' car insurance but his own?

Atascadero, CA |

Our 22 yr old not living at home has been involved in accident. His driver's license still shows our home address. Can we be held liable for any damages to other party since son is still claimed under our taxes and his driver's license and his personal auto insurance listed our home address-- not his current address where he has been living for 5 months? His car is in his name only. His insurance was in his name only, too, but it appears that since he was late on premium payment, the insurance co. is not going to cover the accident or any claim by other party. Can the other party come after us for damages? What can happen to our son?

Attorney Answers 3


It is doubtful. If the car was under his name and his insurance was under his name (albeit expired) and his home is away from where the address on his driver's license may be listed, then it is highly doubtful that a claim against the parents can be sustained.

Although, a claim can be made, the insurance company will probably deny it-- Make sure that all paperwork is properly transmitted to the insurance company so that a decision can be made on that.

Nima Taradji

Disclaimer: I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Illinois only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. This is for informational purposes only.

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It is not likely, however, if the insurance isn't available then they may attempt to make some sort of negligent entrustment claim. Although, I likewise feel that this is a real long shot given the facts as you have stated them and the age of your son.. Your son on the other hand can be held personally liable for any money damages. In a addition in Texas if the plaintiff obtains a money judgment against your son then it can be filed with the State and his drivers license can be suspended until satisfied.

Obviously, i would urge you and your son to contact an attorney for a more qualified answer in your given State.

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Since you are not an owner or part owner of the vehicle he was driving and he is over the age of 18, I see no basis for a claim to be laid against you by the adverse party. Your son will be responsible for any of the damages he caused due to his negligence. Your son has learned a hard lesson. No one should drive any motor vehicle without maintaining adequate automobile liability insurance on it at all times.

Legal Disclaimer:

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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