Visitor Question

Are we liable if my stepson has an accident driving his mom’s car?

Submitted By: LuLu (Seattle, WA)

My stepson has been restricted from driving our car because of lying and sneaking out. His biological mom is letting him drive her car, without our permission. We believe she does not have him listed on her auto insurance for this car, although he is insured on our auto insurance policy for our cars).

If he gets into an accident driving her car, could we be held liable under our policy? How do we protect ourselves in this scenario? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear LuLu,

In most cases, parents biological parents are responsible for the actions of their children when the actions result in injuries to others. In the event your stepson is negligent and that negligence causes an accident resulting in property damage or personal injury, his biological parents may be liable.

In the event your stepson causes an accident, your insurance would protect the boy’s biological parents from claims for compensation by the injured person, or a person sustaining property damage. In case of a collision, your insurance would step in and defend against claims up to the limit of your insurance policy.

While you can remove your stepson from your insurance policy, that would only leave his biological parents exposed to claims and lawsuits for property damage and personal injury.

In an effort to stop his biological mother from permitting your stepson from driving her car, tell her in the event the boy causes a collision resulting in property damage or personal injury, you will hold her fully responsible, especially if your husband is sued for the victim’s damages.

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

Best of luck,

Published: December 14, 2015

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