Got Into a Car Accident Driving My Parents’ Car. Are They Liable?


Nothing will put a damper on your commute like getting into a car accident. First, there’s shock. Then there’s the anxiety that comes with all of the associated questions: How much damage was caused to your car? What about the other car? Will there be any medical bills? Hikes in car insurance rates? Or worst of all, a lawsuit?

And what happens if you were the driver, but your car is in your parents’ name?

I’m the Primary Driver but My Parent is the Legal Owner of My Car

The first factor to look at is your age. If you’re of legal driving age, but under 18, Florida law requires that when you apply for a driver’s license, your parent or legal guardian has to also sign the application. If you get into a car accident, the adult who signed the application will be held responsible for the accident. And if you think that’s getting into enough hot water with your parents, be aware that you would be held jointly responsible.

If you’re over 18, you’re the only person who has to sign your application for a Driver’s License. However, if your parents consented to let you drive a car in their name, they can still be held liable. It doesn’t even have to be verbal consent. If you live in their home, or if they habitually lend you their car, a Court would see it as implied consent.

How am I going to pay for damages from a car accident while driving my parents’ car?

Now that you know that your parents would be on the hook for the accident, let’s take a look at the amount of damages they would be financially responsible for. In Florida, all car insurance policies are required to include Personal Injury Protection (commonly known as PIP). If the damage is for $10,000 or less, PIP kicks in and will cover the damages regardless of who was at fault.

For PIP to apply, you have to file a claim within 14 days of the accident. Don’t let this deadline pass you by, because the law specifically establishes that timeframe. Do it one day later and you’ll be denied. Such coverage applies to both damages to personal property as well as up to 80% in medical bills, and up to 60% in lost wages. If the damages exceed $10,000, both you and your parents could be held liable for the additional, uncovered amount.

Call Clark Hartpence Law if you’ve been in a car accident in Tampa Bay

If you were involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Hartpence Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best course of action.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.