There is new law that deals with whether a parent can be responsible if their minor child causes a car accident. It is a common question that parents ask when their minor children are first handed the keys to a car on their 16th birthday. Before now, the answer was generally no; a parent is not responsible for the negligent driving of their minor child.” However, there have always been a few exceptions to this rule. One exception was if the child was acting as an agent or servant for the parent. For example, if the child is running errands for their parent and they get into an accident, the parent could potentially be liable if the child was negligent and caused a car accident.
Another exception exists if a child was intoxicated and the parent was aware, or should have been aware, that the child was intoxicated and still allowed them to drive or failed to stop them from driving. It should be noted that this exception also would apply to other parent’s children as well. If a parent is aware that children were drinking at their home, and later a child leaves and causes an accident, the homeowner where the alcohol was consumed CAN be held liable for the accident.
LIABILITY FOR CHILD’S CAR ACCIDENT – NEW LAW
As of 2018, Parents are required to sign and verify their minor child’s application for a driver’s license (Vehicle Code Section 17701). By so signing, they become liable for the minor’s negligence or intentional wrongful acts in driving a car. The only exception is if the child is acting as an agent or servant of someone other than their parents.
LIABILITY FOR PARENTS WHEN CHILD DRIVING WITH THEIR PERMISSION
Parents are jointly and severally liable with their minor child for damages proximately resulting from the “negligent or wrongful and or omission” of the minor (whether licensed or unlicensed) in driving a motor vehicle with the parents’ express or implied permission.
In other words, a parent is now almost ALWAYS liable for the negligent acts of their children in driving a car, except when the child is acting as an agent for someone else. However, parents’ liability in most cases may be limited to $15,000.00 for injury or death of one person, $30,000.00 for more than one, and $5,000.00 for property damage. In addition, the parent CANNOT be held liable for punitive damages based on the child’s wrongful conduct.
CONTACT FLAHAVAN LAW OFFICES IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or you have been injured by a minor driver, contact the car accident attorneys at Flahavan Law Offices. Flahavan Law Offices specializes in personal injury law and can give you advice on the compensation and help you deserve. Flahavan Law Offices is here to help with all your personal injury law needs.