Can parents be sued for 17-year old’s auto accident?

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Can parents be sued for 17-year old’s auto accident?

My nephew (with his father in the car) swerved left to avoid a car coming at him in my nephew’s lane. The accident happened when the other driver returned to his correct lane. The 1 non-involved witness only saw the end of the accident when my nephew was in the wrong lane. My nephew is by all accounts a very safe driver (first accident). Because the other driver has been involved in 2 work-injury lawsuits, we are concerned that he will seize the opportunity for yet another suit. The police report is ambiguous. There were injuries in both cars and no citations. What do you recommend?

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Accident Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I recommend that your nephew file a corrected police report with his side of the story as soon as he can since you indicate here that the report is ambiguous and that he alert his or his parent's insurance company as soon as possible as to the accident.  I have no doubt that you are indeed correct that the other driver will try and sue.  It is unfortunate that there is no other "unrelated" witness - i.e., his Father - that saw the other driver in the wrong lane of traffic.  The fact that the accident happened in the other cars lane of traffic is, as I am sure you realize , not so great for your nephew.  If he is properly insured under the policy then he will be owed a defense and indemnification by the insurance provider.  Have him cooperate fully with his defense.  Good luck. 


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