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Can a parent be held legally responsible if an uninsured 18 year old drives a friends car and gets in an accident?

Atlanta, GA |

He is not on my insurance policy or my liability umbrella as he was dropped by my carrier due to previous accidents. He does live in my house when he is home from college.

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

You are not responsible for the negligence of your adult son driving someone else's vehicle. If he were driving a vehicle you provided to him as a family member, you could be held liable under the family purpose car doctrine. If you provided a vehicle knowing of his poor driving history, you could be liable under the doctrine of negligent entrustment. If he were on some errand for you, even in someone else's vehicle, you could be liable under the law of agency. But if he was simply driving someone else's vehicle that had nothing to do with you, you have no liability. Under most insurance policies, if he had any reasonable belief that he was permitted to drive the friend's car, he would be covered under the insurance policy on that car.


First of all, though your question is about your child, it is NOT related to a Family Law issue. I've therefore changed the Practice Area so that it can be viewed by the right set of attorneys.

Secondly, parents are not always liable for the actions of their minor children; and usually are NOT liable for the actions of the children who have reached the age of majority. Your 18-year old son is no longer a minor. Thus, whether you would be liable for your son's accident is going to depend on a number of factors - the most important of which is likely to be who gave him permission to drive the care.

I hope this information helps with answering your question(s).

~ Kem Eyo

The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.


An 18 year old is an adult and he was not driving your car, thus, you are not liable.

The answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and is for informational purposes only.

Lassen Law Firm
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Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755


Let's hope he was not an excluded driver for the car he was operating. I agree with the are not responsible.

Please note that we are not forming an attorney - client relationship and the advice is meant to be general. Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky 1616 Walnut Street Suite 2110 Philadelphia, PA 19103


Unless you were involved in arranging for him to drive that vehicle, it is unlikely that you can be held liable.

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As the parent of a child of majority age, you will not be liable for the actions of your negligent son.I suggest you encourage your son to purchase liability coverage. If there was insurance coverage on the vehicle he was driving with permission, he will be covered by that policy.

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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 ensure proper advice is received.

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