When Are Parents Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Their Children?

Lever & Ecker, PLLC September 20, 2023 Car Accidents

As kids grow older and gain the legal right to get a license and drive, they are not always the most experienced or safe drivers. If a child caused a car accident in New York that left you with injuries, you may be wondering whether the parents will be held liable for the collision even if they were not present in the car when the incident occurred. 

At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, our New York personal injury lawyers have more than 65 years of combined experience helping clients understand who may be held liable after a car accident caused by a child. Our legal professionals are dedicated to helping clients pursue justice after the collision by helping them build a strong personal injury claim. To understand who may be held liable for the car accident caused by a child, contact one of our trusted personal injury lawyers today.

Are Parents Ever Held Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Their Children in New York?

In New York, a parent will not generally be held liable for injuries that their child causes simply based on the familial relationship they share. Instead, parents may be held liable for a car accident caused by their child if there is evidence of negligent conduct on the part of the parent. A parent may be held legally responsible for a car accident caused by their child if any of the following is true:

  • The parent carelessly allowed the child to use a vehicle when doing so was unreasonably dangerous
  • The parent failed to supervise or restrain the child when they were doing something that could endanger others
  • The parent consented to the reckless behavior of the child
  • There was a “master and servant” relationship in which the child was acting on behalf of the parent

Additionally, parents who entrust their vehicle to your child knowing they may be drinking or partaking in some other unsafe behavior can be held responsible for a car accident that occurs as a result.

Does Vehicle Ownership Affect a Parent’s Liability?

As stated in New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 388, the owner of a vehicle that is used or operated in the state is liable for death, injury, or property damage caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle. This is considered to be a type of vicarious liability, meaning the person who acted carelessly to cause an injury – the driver – is not the only one who is sued. Rather, both the driver and owner are named as defendants in the action. 

In the case of a child causing a car crash, New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law allows the injured party to pursue compensation from the parent or parents who own the car along with the minor child. To ensure you fully understand how liability works in regards to a child who caused a car accident that left you with injuries and other losses, it is important that you retain the help of a legal professional who can pursue your car accident claim.

Get Help With Your New York Car Accident Claim Today

The personal injury lawyers at Lever & Ecker, PLLC, are dedicated to aggressively pursuing personal injury claims to help clients secure the justice they deserve after being injured in a car accident caused by a child. We have over 65 years of combined experience helping clients pursue all parties who may be liable for their injuries. We are prepared to go to trial if necessary for your case.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers, call (718) 933-3632 to reach our Bronx office or (914) 288-9191 for our White Plains office. You can also reach us by filling out our contact form.

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