Are Parents Liable if their Teenager Gets in a Car Accident?
When you hand over your car keys to your teen, you may not fully consider the extent of potential liability in case the child gets in an accident. In Florida, a teenager can acquire a Leaner’s or Restricted Driver’s License specifically at the age of 15 and obtain an unrestricted one from the age of 16. So, it’s not surprising that once in a while, there is a news report of a teenager who took their dad’s car, sometimes without permission, and got into an accident.
Sometimes, these are ordinary fender benders. However, some car accidents are serious resulting in severe injuries or even death. Are the parents responsible for their teens’ negligence? Whenever your child is involved in a car accident, it’s advisable to consult with a top-rated Miami car accident lawyer for legal help and representation in case of a lawsuit.
Yes, you can be sued for your child’s negligence
Well, the law differs depending on your state and each state has a specific form of ‘Parental Responsible Law.’ Generally, everyone is responsible for their actions, and so, your teen can be sued for their negligence in causing a car accident. Only kids below years can’t be held responsible for their actions, and such children shouldn’t be driving.
The ability to charge a teen is more relevant in Miami as the state laws allow teens (15 years to 17 years) to be registered car owners. Practically, this is an exception because acquiring a car require loans and insurance, all of which often require the involvement of teens’ parents.
But for 15 years to 17 years old drivers, there is an extra dimension. In Florida, a minor is anyone below the age of 18. The state law considers a guardian/child relationship, and that means an exception from the general principle of all liability falling on the car driver if a teenager is at fault. Thus, the law imposes civil liability on guardians for the wrongful acts of their teens. You, the parent, can be sued for your teen’s negligence, implying that you failed to act with care in making sure that your kid would not be the cause of the car accident.
The parent must sign a minor’s application for driver’s license in Florida. This application should be filed with the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. By signing your child’s application for driver’s license, you assume certain obligations over the kid’s negligence and different forms of misconduct. According to the set statutes, you commit to being financially all costs accrued vehicle accidents your teen is involved in.
The consent form and parental consent remain valid until the teen’s 18th birthday unless the teen gets married, a consent form for the same child is signed by the other parent or your consent is revoked in writing.
While the accidents involving minors aren’t common, it’s always advisable for parents to know that they will be held liable for their kids reckless driving.