Do I need to cover myself from any liability to damage for a car owned by my ex-wife and driven by my children?

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Do I need to cover myself from any liability to damage for a car owned by my ex-wife and driven by my children?

She has insurance on the car but do I need to do anything to protect myself, if any damage occurs to the vehicle while the vehicle is at my house or in my garage? For example, if someone comes by and breaks the windows, am I liable?

Asked on October 19, 2016 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would only be liable for damage to the car done while parked at your house if:
1) You cause the damage (e.g. you back another car into it; while cutting a tree limb, you drop it on the windshield);
2) A minor under your control causes the damage (e.g. if your children are minors and they are skate boarding in the driveway by the parked car and one damages it);
3) You negligently (or minors under your control negligently) contributed to damage or loss occuring, such as if you left the driver's door wide open and keys inside, so someone stole it because of that; or you were painting your house with the car parked right under where you were painting (e.g didn't move the car, which a reasonable person would do) and dropped a bucket of paint on it.
But if some third party--neighborhood teenages not under your control, out on Mischief Night--does damage to it without you having facilitated the damage through your carelessness, you would not be liable.


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