Can Parents Be Held Liable For Their Negligent Teenage Drivers?

In California car accident law, there are several people who may be held liable for the fault of the driver. This applies especially in car accident cases involving teenagers who are under the age of 18 and employees driving cars. In case you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, it’s important to cover all your bases by knowing all the people who may be held liable for the accident.

This short article will provide an overview regarding the liability of persons other than the driver and owner in vehicular accidents.

Adult Liability for Minors

There are two different ways in which an adult may be liable for a teenage driver’s fault in a car accident. For purposes of this article, teenager will refer to legal minors (teenagers under the age of 18). The first way in which an adult may be liable for a teenage driver’s fault in a car accident is if the adult signs and verifies a teenagers driver’s license application. This applies to parents, guardians, adult spouses, or employers of the teenager. In this instance the liability of the adult with the teenager is joint. This means that the adult and minor teenager will share equally in case an amount is ordered to be paid. This kind of responsibility for the liability also exists for as long as the minor is of minor age.

The second way an adult can be liable for a minor teenager driver’s negligence in a car accident is if the adult gives permission to a minor to use a vehicle. The permission may be express or implied. In this instance, it is immaterial if the minor has a license or not; the adult will be liable for the minor’s fault if he/she gives permission. For more discussion on permissive liability, click here.

In cases where an adult is liable for a minor’s fault, liability will be limited to the following amounts:

  • $15,000 per person
  • $30,000 per accident for injury
  • $5000 per accident for property damages, and there is no imputed liability for punitive damages

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