What is a parent’s liability if their son or one of his friends has an accident with our car?

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What is a parent’s liability if their son or one of his friends has an accident with our car?

Our son who is 18 is driving a vehicle that is still in our name. He is covered under our insurance. If he or anyone using the vehicle has an accident can we be sued or made to pay for anything? Don’t want to put vehicle in his name so unable to sale or trade it.

Asked on July 21, 2011 Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your son or one of his friends is driving your car and is at fault in an accident, you would be liable because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.  Your liability would include property damage to the other vehicle and  personal injury claims by the driver or occupants of the other vehicle.  The personal injury claim could include medical bills, pain and suffering, and wage loss. 

Hopefully, this won't happen, but if it did occur, refer the matter to your insurance carrier.  If you have inadequate (minimal) insurance which isn't sufficient to compensate the other party, you could be sued. 

If your son is NOT at fault in an accident, then a claim would be filed against the other driver's insurance company. 


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