Can I be held liable for my 17 year old son’s car accident?

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Can I be held liable for my 17 year old son’s car accident?

My 17 year old moved out 5 months ago. When he did, we requested the state “remove his driving privileges” which they did. We then removed him from our insurance since he was no longer licensed or living in the home. Yesterday he borrowed a friend’s car, had accident (minor 20 mph) but left scene. We found out police were looking for him, so we talked him into going to PD. He was arrested and released 1.5 hours later on OR. He received 3 tickets totalling $112 for: following to close, no license, no insurance and court date for the fleeing. No previous legal issues; FT high school student. What can we expect for penalties? Also, will he qualify for a PD?

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you did all the things you needed to do to ensure your minor child did not do harm, while you still may be sued, I don't believe the lawsuit will stick. Bottom line, he didn't live in your home, he basically moved out and you were proactive to ensure he didn't have a license to drive or insurance coverage. He could get sued by the other driver and the lawsuit could be successful. If your son thinks he will be judgment proof, please understand that the other party will have I believe 10 years after your son becomes an adult to collect the judgment (from wage garnishment to bank account freezing). He may qualify for a public defender but since he is a minor you or he need to check to see if he is being charged as a minor or as an adult. Further, since he was arrested, you or he will need to figure out if these records will be sealed or if he can qualify for an alternative program so the charges can be eventually dismissed. 


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