This is a very good question and more information would be needed to answer your question. I strongly recommend that you hire an Atlanta attorney to assist you right away. Good luck.
Yes, very much so. Insurance follows the car unless there is an exclusion, a very specific exclusion (ie: joe smith is specifically excluded on this policy and this policy in no way covers him). I don't know why your adult child was driving your car, but you can be sued for "negligent entrustment". That doesn't mean that you'd ultimately be found liable for a money judgment, but yes, you could be sued.
If the parents name is on the registration for the vehicle being driven by the adult child, they could possibly be sued. I suppose a creative lawyer could also try to figure out another scenario, like parents told the child they had fixed his car, but they hadnt, and that leaves to the crash. In Calif a registered owner who gives consent to another to drive their car, is statutorily liable for certain amounts, and can be liable for more if they were also negligent.
Possibly, depending on detailed facts you didn't give us.
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If suit becomes necessary, the plaintiff's lawyer would name both the adult child driver and you as the owner of the vehicle and of the ins. policy, and in some circumstances, include the insurer as a named defendant as well. So, while they may or may not recover from you personally, the answer to your question is yes, you can be sued. Turn it over to your insurance and let them handle it.
Law Offices of Robert G. Rothstein (Atlanta)
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While it's almost a certainty that a good plaintiff's lawyer will name the parents in any lawsuit related to the child's use of a vehicle, it is not a certainty that the parents will be liable. Georgia, like most jurisdictions, does not impose liability on a parent for an auto accident caused by their child merely based on the relationship of parent and child. A parent would be liable under certain circumstances based on the "Family Purpose Doctrine." The basic theory is that a parent may be liable if he or she makes a family vehicle available to their child (or other immediate family member) who uses the vehicle with the implicit approval of the parent who owns or controls the car.
The injured party would have to establish the following:
- The parent must have ownership or control of the car;
- The car must be provided for use by the child;
- The child must live in the same home though not exclusively;
- Your child must drive the vehicle with your approval or permission.
If all of these elements are established, then a parent may be held liable for their teenager’s auto accident.
There is also the theory of "negligent entrustment" that many have discussed. For a parent to be liable under that theory, they would have to be aware of their child's propensity to drive "irresponsibly" (drunk, fast, aggressive, etc.) before they are held liable.
In short - parental liability is never automatic in cases like this, and is always fact specific and fact intensive. Turn it over to your insurance company and they will handle it. Good luck.
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Based on the limited facts provided, probably. You should seek a local attorney who handles personal injury cases and deals with insurance coverage issues. The insurance documents may be crucial and getting a competent attorney to review them could make all of the difference. Good luck.
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Yes they can be sued.
Darrell B. Reynolds,
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
Decatur, Ga. 30033
Yes. The owner of a car is always liable for the damages caused by those whom he or she allows to use the car.
Know YOUR Rights. Take Action Now. CALL 855-648-4695. Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. Mr. Crockett is licensed in Texas in Illinois only.
The owner of the vehicle is often named in a lawsuit when the driver doesn't own the car. This is fairly standard. Why? Because the owner of the car can, in some situations be held liable for the acts of another - whether or not the person is a relative. There could be an employer/employee relationship, there could be "negligent entrustment" such as giving the keys to a person who had a suspended license and a poor driving history known to the owner of the car.
If your son owned the car then just because it was your name on the insurance, it wouldn't be likely for you to be sued in most states.
If the other party was injured and decides to sue, your insurance company should provide a defense to both of you and the insurance defense attorney should look to get you out of the case by application to the court.
This response does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of the law and to the limitations of this forum, this information may not be adequate for your specific situation.
You likely are liable for your child's tortious conduct with a vehicle, not under principles of negligent entrustment, but under principles of the family purpose doctrine.
Negligent entrustment in Georgia requires that the Defendant have actual knowledge of a lack of knowledge, skill, or experience in the entrustee (the child operating the vehicle) so as to create a duty to prevent the entrustee from operating such a vehicle. Since actual knowledge is required, past accidents or failed driving tests would be the best way to prove this. Often this is difficult to do for a new driver or young driver, and so negligent entrustment usually fails for that reason.
By comparison, the family purpose doctrine under Georgia law imputes liability to a head of household where a family vehicle is being operated by an immediately family member for some sort of family purpose. A family head will have negligence imputed from a third party who is operating the family purpose vehicle when such operation is with the consent of a family member who is within the scope of the family purpose and who is present in the vehicle during its operation whether or not the family head has expressly or impliedly prohibited the vehicle's operation by anyone other than a family member.These cases are easier to prove than negligent entrustment.
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