Will I be liable if my wife’s don has an accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Will I be liable if my wife’s don has an accident?

My wife allows her son to take her car out but he doesn’t even have a learner’s permit. He has already been in trouble for drugs and underage drinking. I have told her to stop it. Now she wants a divorce because I am demanding that she stop allowing him to drive. Will I be liable if he has an accident?

Asked on August 5, 2018 under Accident Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are an owner of (on the title of) her car, then yes--you would be liable. Any owner of a car is liable for the accidents of anyone permitted to drive the car, which means in practice for anyone but a car thief, since if they are not stealing your car (and you are not filing a police report for theft), they have your permission if they are driving it.
Even if you are not personally liable (not on title), your wife's share of any marital assets could be reached by persons injured by her son or their insurers, which could deplete the family's money and resources.

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