If I were to get into an accident without insurance, would my mother be responsible for my actions in any way?

I have no car insurance. I’m 19 years old and my mom is angry and saying I shouldn’t drive because if I get into an accident she could get in trouble and lose her stuff because of my actions. Is this true?

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Accident Law, New Hampshire


Jason Ostendorf / Law Ofice of Jason Ostendorf

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The answer to this question depends on a few facts.  If the car is owned by your mother, and if she lets you borrow the car despite knowing, for example, that you have a horrible driving record, then the answer is "possibly".  The legal principle, well known to personal injury lawyers, is that of foreseeability.  If your mother has no legal obligation to let you use the car, yet lets you use the car anyway despite a high degree of foreseeability that you may likely cause harm to others, then she could be sued for negligent entrustment of the vehicle.

On the other hand, if you have a clean driving record and no known medical issues (i.e., seizures, drinking problems, etc.), then she probably has nothing to worry about if the car is hers and not yours.  Lastly, if the car is exclusively yours, then she should not have anything to worry about (unless some weird facts are at play, such as if you are not legally competent and the mother is your ward, etc.).

In sum, barring one of the above strange fact patterns or something similar, your mother should not have to worry about liability.

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