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Can Parents Be Held Legally Responsible For An 18 YR old child getting in a drunk driving accident with a car in their name?

Sequim, WA |

My son was driving a car in my name, the car is also on my insurance policy. My son is 18 years old and got into this accident with a BAC of .06. He has no previous serious incidents on his record. He does have 2 minor (5-10 mph) speeding tickets. Is it possible that if the person whom he hit claim is over my insurances liability coverage that i can be sued for the overage?

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Attorney answers 3


Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer in your area, search this website or, but find a good DUI Defense Attorney if there is an allegation of driving under the influence. Yes, anyone can sue anyone over an accident and the coverage amount has nothing to do with your right to file a lawsuit. This is America and in a free country you should be able to exercise your rights in a legal process in any court room. But at .06, it's questionable that .06 caused the accident, more importantly, you should fight the .06 charge in a DUI criminal charge, if there is criminal charge pending.


The short answer is yes, because you are on title you may be held liabile for the harm and your insurance may or may not cover the harm. Even without the alcohol in an accident the legal owner can be held liable.

Good Luck and get your son a lawyer, he will need one.


I just answered a similar question elsewhere. Although the lawyer provided by the insurance company is paid for by them, that lawyer owes an ethical obligation to your son. If, at some point, it looks like the damages may exceed your policy limits, then they may advise you to retain independent counsel.

Like the other attorneys said, you should get your son a good DUI lawyer. In the meantime, the insurance company is driving the bus, and you are just along for the ride. Best of luck.

Jason G. Epstein, Attorney at Law
Premier Law Group, PLLC
3131 Elliott Avenue, Suite 710
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 285-1743
Fax (206) 599-6316
Washington Wrongful Death and Serious Injury Lawyer

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