Parental Liability for Teen Driver Accidents in Ohio | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC Hurt in a Car? Call KNR.
A teenager’s decisions behind the wheel can still affect their parents, especially if they’re in an accident
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
April 20, 2023

Raising children is no easy feat. Once they’re old enough to get behind the wheel and drive, life gets even more complicated. Even as they become more independent, teenagers’ decisions can still affect their parents’ lives, especially if they’re in a car accident.

According to the Centers For Disease Prevention and Control, 2,800 teens aged 13 to 19 were killed in car accidents in 2020. About 227,000 were injured in crashes. Even if your child isn’t killed in a collision, there could be high costs if they’re in a car accident.

Can A Parent Be Held Liable for Their Child’s Car Accident in Ohio?

Parents can be held responsible if their teenager is involved in a car accident. Under Ohio law, a parent can be liable if they sign an application for any minor seeking a probationary license, a restricted license, or a temporary instruction permit.

The parent that signed the application will be “jointly and severally” liable for any misconduct committed by the minor unless that minor has financial responsibility for their motor vehicle.

Parents could also be liable in other ways, like:

Negligent Entrustment

Parents could be liable for their teenager’s crash if they knew or should have known their teen posed a danger to other drivers on the road but let them drive anyway. For instance, if a teen driver had been in a minor fender-bender one month earlier, and their parents allowed them to continue driving, those parents could be held liable if the teen crashes.

Parents can even be held accountable if they claim their teen drove the car without permission. The parents could be considered even more negligent than if their teen had permission to drive. If their teen caused a crash, the law would expect the parents to have tried to take further steps to protect other drivers.

Vicarious Liability for a Child’s Actions

Parents might be held accountable if they were directing their teenagers when they were in an accident. If the parent provides the car and asks the teenager to complete an errand, the parent could be liable for any accidents the teen causes while working on the task.

Parents don’t necessarily have to ride with the teen to be vicariously liable. Because they gave the vehicle to the teen to use and permitted them to drive the car, the parent could be responsible for the teen’s accidents.

Does My Insurance Work if My Teen Was Driving?

In most cases, your car insurance will cover your teenager’s crash. Most policies cover vehicles and anyone with permission to use said vehicles. Your insurance coverage should extend to your teenager. If they pay for their own insurance, you may not share as much liability after their accident.

It’s reasonable to expect your premiums to increase if your teen causes a crash and your insurer pays the crash victim.

What Damages Could I Face if My Teen Crashed?

Under vicarious liability, the other driver injured in the crash caused by your teen could seek the same damages almost as if you were the driver. That means they could seek economic and non-economic losses caused by the crash.

Economic losses are the out-of-pocket expenses someone must pay after a personal injury. That includes repairing the property, medical bills, or lost wages.

Non-economic losses are conceptual. This includes things like pain and suffering or mental anguish after an accident.

Are There Potential Defenses Against Parental Liability in Ohio?

Each case is unique, but defenses could be available for parents after their teen causes a car accident.

A parent could argue they aren’t liable for their teenager’s crash if the child isn’t living with them or the parent doesn’t have legal custody over them. A parent could also argue they do not have any reasonable ability to control their child.

It’s important to note that parents won’t likely be liable for the crash if the child is older than 18 and owns the vehicle.

Call an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer For Help in Teenage Car Accident Cases

Car accidents can be confusing, painful, and traumatizing. It can be worse when your teenager is involved in a crash. You should rely on an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer to help you navigate the claims process.

Kisling, Nestico & Redick is ready to hear your case and help you deal with the insurance company after your teenager is involved in a crash. Our seasoned attorneys have helped clients like you recover millions and find the best outcomes after a crash. We can guide you through the claims process.

Get started with a free initial consultation. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or use our online form.