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Are the parents liable if their 19 year old daughter causes a car accident in a car owned by one of the parents?

Marina Del Rey, CA |

The daughter lives with the parents. 19 year old is a college student. Parents tried to help cover the cost of repairs, but they were too high. Now parents of other college student, which was hit by the 19 year old, want to sue the parents for damages. If they choose that route, what would happen in court? Who is liable? Thank you for your time.

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Attorney answers 3


The owner of a vehicle is liable for $15,000 if their car is at fault in the accident, no matter who is driving. You are not responsible for additional damages because your daughter is over 18, unless they can show that you negligently entrusted your car to her, knowing she is a bad driver. Have you made an insurance claim?

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


You, as an owner, may be liable for at least some of the damages, depending on where the accident took place. This matter should be turned over to your automobile liability insurance company immediately and let them handle this matter on your behalf.

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.


Probably. Many states it is called "family Purpose".
I am licensed in Georgia and can not advise you on your state's laws.

However, you need an attorney. You may want to contact the local bar for a reference.

You also need to contact and notify your insurance company.

Meanwhile maintaining evidence is important. Save all documents. Take photographs of any relevant matters, in a car wreck that would include the scene, vehicle damages and any visible injuries.

Be aware that there is a statute of limitations or a limited time in which you can bring a lawsuit.

For example, in Georgia, the statute usually runs or expires 2 years from your injury for a personal injury case and 12 months in Georgia for workers compensation.
Medical Malpractice claims can be longer or shorter.
You should act now!

Do not give the "other side", their insurance company nor their lawyer a recorded statement.

Keep in mind, defendants their lawyers and their claims office are not your friend and they are NOT on your side.

One of the most frustrating events that I have encountered as an attorney, is when someone is barred from a recovery, due to a legal time limitation.
Legal time limitations are called "Statute of Limitations”. These are laws which prevent legal remedies in relation to wrongful conduct.

Statutes vary by state and like most rules, almost all have exceptions.

~Appropriate legal action, notice and claims must take place well in advance of the statute if you want to be safe in pursuing an action.

~ Make sure you discuss the statute of limitations and other legal time limits with your own attorney.

~Act now!

Good Luck

Make it a great day!
Howard Spiva

The Spiva Law Group does not represent insurance companies and for 25 years has been dedicated solely to the representation of individuals who are injured and their families.