Visitor Question

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

Submitted By: M (Ohio)

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.

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 M,

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.

Learn more here: Parental Liability

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,

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One comment on “Am I liable for my 17 year old daughter’s car accident?

  1. Jamilet says:

    I have a friend who was driving when I was in the car with my brother and sister and cousins. He was 17 when this accident happened. We were on our way to a fair when this van in front of us stopped. No stop sign was there at the time. She stopped out of nowhere and left me and my siblings in danger. He stopped as fast as he could but he managed to hit the bumper of the car in front.

    There was no damage. He got out and checked if they were all okay and they were. He showed her his driver’s license although he never said you’re allowed to take a picture. She went and took a picture anyways. He has now got a claim of $1,000.

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