Am I responsible for medical bills?

by Emily

I live in Minnesota and my son is 17. He and his girlfriend were driving in an uninsured car where he was the passenger and she was the driver. According to her, they got into a fight and he grabbed the wheel causing her to get into an accident. It's a "he said, she said" situation. She has thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Is my son liable for the damages caused by this accident? Since the vehicle was uninsured, would I as a parent responsible for covering her medical bills? Thank you for any perspective you can provide in this situation.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Am I responsible for medical bills?":

Emily (Minnesota):

In many car accidents fault is clear, and usually one driver is at fault. The at-fault driver or his insurance company would step in to cover the property damage and personal injuries sustained in the accident - up to their insured driver's policy limits.

In the facts you present, the question of liability is at a minimum, cloudy. Absent insurance coverage, the only way to determine liability and responsibility for the young woman's injuries is by admission by the woman or your son, or ultimately, through litigation.

Clearly your son doesn't want to admit liability and be responsible for the woman's injuries and related medical costs.

At this point, your son has two options. He can refuse to pay, claiming he did not cause the accident or in any manner contribute to it, or accept whole or partial responsibility.

If he chooses not to accept whole or partial liability, the only manner in which he could be held responsible is if the injured woman files a lawsuit against him. In that case, the injured woman would have the burden of proof to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, your son was wholly or partially responsible for the accident.

From the facts you present, that will be extremely difficult.

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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