Can parents be found liable for 19 year old daughter with her own auto insurance and own car causing an accident?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2011

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Insurance Question from Black Diamond, WA

Asked on 10/01/2011

Can parents be found liable for 19 year old daughter with her own auto insurance and own car causing an accident? Can parents be found liable for 19 year old daughter with her own auto insurance and own car titled in her name causing an accident? Daughter is a college student and lives away from parent's home at least 9 months of the year.Parents still claim daughter as an exemption on tax return and pay her rent but do not pay for her auto insurance.

Answer given on October 02, 2011

Parental liability for an auto accident is not normally used for the child of the parents. This is known as vicarious liability. Most insurance companies exclude this in their policies. However, if you purchased the car for your daughter and were negligent in some way for doing so, there could be an attorney who would try to go after you. The fact that the daughter is claimed on taxes and the parents pay her rent should not be a factor However, the severity of the accident could cause the other party to attempt this.If you daughter has a policy in her name and the car is titled to only her, then her insurance policy will be the policy to cover her in an accident. If she has low limits, the other party’s insurance may be able to provide additional coverage for the other person under their uninsured/underinsured coverage.

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