Teen drivers are usually the least experienced drivers on the road, which makes them more likely than any other group to cause an accident. If your teen is listed on your family insurance, your carrier should pay for any damage if they cause an accident in which someone else is hurt. However, in some situations a car accident attorney may be able to file a lawsuit against the parents, potentially putting your entire financial future at risk.
When Can Injured Drivers Take Action Against a Driver’s Parents?
Negligent entrustment is the legal theory that simply loaning out your car to someone else can be considered negligence in some circumstances. For instance, your child may not have a valid driver’s license, has a history of reckless driving, or is specifically excluded on your insurance policy.
In many states, insurers can deny claims related to accidents in which negligent entrustment was a factor. Wisconsin makes it very difficult for injured parties to collect damages from insurance companies in these situations, so their car accident attorney may have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the parents directly.
Wisconsin law requires that every driver under 18 have a parent or guardian sign their driver’s license application. In doing so, you agree to be jointly responsible for any damage caused by your child, up to the limits of your policy or $300,000, whichever is greater. This means that if your auto insurance only has $50,000 in coverage but your child causes $90,000 in damage, the plaintiff’s car accident attorney can sue you for the remaining $40,000.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, let the car accident attorneys at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC provide the aggressive representation you deserve. Over the years, we’ve collected over $90 million for accident victims throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, never collecting a fee unless we win. Visit our website for more on how we can help after a car accident, follow our Twitter for more legal tips, or call (877) 784-1230 to speak with an attorney and schedule a consultation.