Are my parents responsible for an accident that happened in a family vehicle that i was driving?

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Are my parents responsible for an accident that happened in a family vehicle that i was driving?

I received a notice in the mail from a firm saying the the other driver in the accident has hired them. There was no other information regarding a demand of a payment, just asking for a response that I received the letter. How do I respond, and are my parents responsible for any legal action against me because I am a dependent?

Asked on June 25, 2018 under Accident Law, Iowa

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your parents are the registered owners of the vehicle you were driving, they are liable for the accident.
If you are not on the auto insurance policy for that vehicle, your parents' insurance carrier will deny the claim because it will regard you as an unauthorized driver.  This means your parents will then be personally liable for the property damage to the vehicle not at fault in the accident and for the personal injury claims of the occupants of that vehicle. They will be sued.
If you are included on your parents' auto insurance policy for the vehicle you were driving, just notify your parents' insurance carrier and it will handle the entire matter.
If you are a minor, your parents will have to contact their insurance company for you.
If you are NOT a minor and are on the insurance policy, you can contact your parents' insurance company to handle the matter.
If the case is NOT settled with your parents' insurance company, the opposing party could sue your parents for negligence because they are the registered owners of the vehicle. You will also be named as a defendant.  DON'T  WORRY ABOUT THAT BECAUSE IF YOU ARE ON YOUR PARENTS' INSURANCE POLICY, THESE CASES ARE USUALLY SETTLED WITHOUT A LAWSUIT BEING FILED.
If there is a lawsuit filed against your parents if you are not on the insurance policy, the fact that you are a dependent would result in the opposing party going after your parents since you don't have any money.
 
Again, DON'T WORRY ABOUT A LAWSUIT BECAUSE IF YOU ARE ON THE INSURANCE POLICY, THE CASE WILL MOST LIKELY BE SETTLED WITHOUT A LAWSUIT BEING FILED.
IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE INSURANCE POLICY AND A LAWSUIT IS FILED, IT MIGHT BE YEARS BEFORE THAT OCCURS.
 
 
 


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