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Madison Car Accident Attorneys

Parent Liability for Their Kids’ Car Accidents

In Wisconsin, parents are usually liable for their teen’s car accidents

As a parent, some of the greatest anxiety you face comes when your teen child is ready to drive. It isn’t just worrying about where they go, but how safe they will be. They are still learning and will be some of the least experienced drivers on the road. And in Wisconsin, if your teen causes an accident, you might be held liable for damages. You will want to work with an experienced attorney to help.

Liability for Letting Teens Drive

Sometimes simply letting your teen borrow your car can get you into trouble. In Wisconsin, if you know your teen does not have his or her license, or has a history of reckless driving, you can be sued for negligent entrustment. This includes two main components: you knew or should have known that your teen should not be driving, but you let him or her do so anyway. If your teen then causes an accident, you may be liable for damages.

Shared Liability for Your Teen

When you have an underage driver, you share liability with him or her. You agree to this when you sign a Wisconsin driver’s license application for your child. If that child is under 18, you are jointly liable for any damage he or she causes, up to the greater of $300,000 or your policy limits. If your child causes an accident, and neither the child nor your insurance can cover all of the damages, you will be responsible for what is left.

Insurance May Not Help You

Sometimes insurance will not cover all of the damages your teen driver causes, leaving you liable. If he or she is not licensed or covered on your policy, it will not protect you. Similarly, if there are reasons your teen should not be driving, your insurer may deny coverage. Finally, if damage exceeds your policy limits, you can be held responsible for the remainder. 

If you need help with your teen’s accident, contact Eisenberg Law Offices online or at 608-256-8356.