If a friend’s parents left their 18 year old at home with access to a vehicle and alcohol and he and a friend got drunk and crashed the car, who is responsible?

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If a friend’s parents left their 18 year old at home with access to a vehicle and alcohol and he and a friend got drunk and crashed the car, who is responsible?

Supposedly the friend was driving. How many different ways could this go?

Asked on January 22, 2015 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) The parents, as owners of the car, are liable--a car's owner is liable for accidents caused by people they permit to drive (like their son) and people whom their permitted drives allow to drive (the friend).

2) The friend is liable, as the at-fault driver: the at-fault driver may always be liable. However, if the friend is less than 18, it may be his parents or legal guardians who would be liable.

3) If the son is, as you indicate, 18, he may be liable for letting the drunk friend drive.

In total, any injured parties could only recover whatever their losses are; but they could recover from any of the above people, or from some combination of them.

 


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