Am I liable for my 17 year old daughter's car accident?

by M

I have a 17 year old daughter. Her friend let drive her car. She then was in an accident where there were injuries. This was without my knowledge nor consent. I am divorced and do not have legal guardianship, but my daughter does live with me.

Am I liable to pay for damages caused by the accident? Would I still be responsible for my daughter's actions, and would my insurance cover anything? Thank you for any information you can give on any liability I may have for this accident and my daughter's actions.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Am I liable for my 17 year old daughter's car accident?":

M (Ohio):

Ohio law section 4507.07 (B) reads in part as follows:

"Any negligence, or willful or wanton misconduct, that is committed by a minor under eighteen years of age when driving a motor vehicle upon a highway shall be imputed to the person who has signed the application of the minor for a probationary license, restricted license, or temporary instruction permit, which person shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damages caused by the negligence or the willful or wanton misconduct."

If you signed your daughter’s application for her probationary license, restricted license, or temporary instruction permit, then under Section 4507 (B) you and she would be jointly and severally liable for the victim’s damages. This means you both would be liable for the victim’s damages, Neither of you would be relieved of liability until the victim’s damages are paid in full.

Let's look at an example:

If your daughter’s collision caused a victim to sustain medical bills in the amount of $10,000, you and your daughter would both be legally responsible to pay that amount. However, if you paid the $10,000, your daughter would be fully relieved of liability.

Or, if she paid $3,000 and you paid $7,000, you would both be relieved of liability.

In other words, until the full amount of $10,000 is paid, you both would remain equally liable for that amount. Once the full amount is paid, you will both be relieved of legal responsibility for that amount.

Read Ohio’s statute on parental liability for car accidents here.

Check with your car insurance carrier. In most cases, insured drivers are covered for property damage caused by another driver who was permitted by the insured to drive the car. In this case, your daughter was driving a third party’s car. If you have questions about coverage under your policy, contact your insurance agent.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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