If we bought my daughter a car for graduation last year, are we financially liable if she causes a serious accident or commits a crime while driving the car?

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If we bought my daughter a car for graduation last year, are we financially liable if she causes a serious accident or commits a crime while driving the car?

The car is registered in our name and we pay the insurance for the car. She had had 2 fender benders that we settled privately, both less than $1000 damage to the other vehicle.

Asked on April 27, 2015 under Accident Law, Oregon

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since you are the registered owner of your daughter's car, you are liable if she is at fault in an accident.  Your liability would include property damage (cost of repairs) to the other vehicle that was not at fault in the accident and the personal injury claims of the occupants of that other vehicle that was not at fault in the accident.  

The personal injury claims would include compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and compensation for wage loss.

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills based on the information in the medical reports.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If your daughter uses the car to commit a crime, you may be liable.  For example, driving under the influence, hit and run, etc.  Drug or alien smuggling, the car will be impounded and you will be liable for fees such as impoundment, towing, storage, etc.


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