Holding parents liable for a teen driver’s accidents

It is hard to see teen drivers take to the streets of Lee’s Summit and not remember the excitement you felt when you were first learning to drive. Yet that excitement might also be mitigated by the knowledge that their inexperience can make teen drivers pose a greater risk to themselves and others while they are behind the wheel. The expectation is that their parents will ensure that they are only driving unsupervised once they have shown they can be responsible. In cases where irresponsible teem drivers have caused accidents, many come to us here at Kelly, Symonds & Reed LLC wanting to know if they can hold the parents responsible. 

You can assign liability to the parents of a teen driver in an accident, yet only under certain conditions. The legal principle of negligent entrustment does indeed allow one to assign vicarious liability to a third party who provides the person who injured them with the instrument used to do so. In citing the state’s view of negligent entrustment, the Missouri State Supreme Court references this passage from the Restatement (Second) of Torts: “One who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel for the use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm to himself and others whom the supplier should expect to share in or be endangered by its use, is subject to liability for physical harm resulting to them.”

One important point to remember when applying this principle to your case is that a teen’s parents must have knowingly supplied them with a vehicle. You can learn more about assigning liability in car accident cases by continuing to explore our site. 


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