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Uninsured, Unlicensed Teen involved in accident

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W

Worried Mom

Guest
My daughter recently drove a friend of hers car with his permission and while he was a passenger. She does not have a license, nor has she ever even taken drivers training. According to the boys mother, the car has been totaled and her insurance company will probably be contacting me. Can my daughter or I be held legally responsible for the damages done to his car?
 


I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Worried Mom:
My daughter recently drove a friend of hers car with his permission and while he was a passenger. She does not have a license, nor has she ever even taken drivers training. According to the boys mother, the car has been totaled and her insurance company will probably be contacting me. Can my daughter or I be held legally responsible for the damages done to his car?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My response:

Yes, licensed or unlicensed, insured or noninsured, your daughter can still be found liable for her own "negligence" - - that is, while driving, she had a continuing duty to follow the vehicle code and not to cause damages. However, she will not have to suffer the entire amount for the damages. There's the "comparative negligence" of the person who allowed her to drive. If your daughter can prove that the other person knew, or should have known, that your daughter was unlicensed, then there is "comparative" negligence and liability on that person's part. A judge would undoubtedly "split the baby" and render a judgment for 50% to each person causing this fiasco.

One who entrusts a motor vehicle to another who is known, or from the circumstances should be known, to be incompetent or unfit to drive, may be liable for injuries resulting from the driver's incompetence or inexperience. [Syah v. Johnson (1966) 247 Cal.App.2d 534, 538-539, 55 Cal.Rptr. 741, 744-745; Allen v. Toledo (1980) 109 Cal.App.3d 415, 419-420, 167 Cal.Rptr. 270, 273; Nault v. Smith (1961) 194 Cal.App.2d 257, 14 Cal.Rptr. 889, 896]

This is not a vicarious (imputed) liability. Rather, the defendant's entrusting the vehicle to a driver known to be incompetent is an act of negligence independent of the driver's negligence.

Knowledge required: The threshold issue is whether the defendant had actual or "constructive" knowledge of the condition suggesting that the driver was incompetent to operate a motor vehicle. [Dodge Center v. Sup.Ct. (Anderson) (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 332, 341, 244 Cal.Rptr. 789, 794]

The "knowledge" requirement is satisfied if defendant either actually knew the driver was incompetent or had knowledge of circumstances reasonably indicating the driver would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others; e.g., knowledge of the driver's youth or inexperience. [Dodge Center v. Sup.Ct. (Anderson), supra, 199 Cal.App.3d at 341, 244 Cal.Rptr. at 794]

You're daughter's driving privileges will also be delayed by the judge as a result.

I hope your daughter now realizes that vehicles are not toys, or "go-carts"; that serious damage can occur.

IAAL

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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."

[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited June 30, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited June 30, 2000).]
 
T

The Legal Shoppe

Guest
Worried Mom:

If your daughter lives with you and you have auto liability insurance, then she would probably be covered under your policy. Report this accident immediately to your insurance company.
 

I AM ALWAYS LIABLE

Senior Member
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Helvetica, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by The Legal Shoppe:
Worried Mom:

If your daughter lives with you and you have auto liability insurance, then she would probably be covered under your policy. Report this accident immediately to your insurance company.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dear Legal Shoppe:

Can you cite me to your authority for your proposition, under our writer's facts?

Assuming, arguendo, that the minor driver is somehow an "insured" under her parent's auto policy, some liability insurance forms exclude vicarious liability for damage intentionally caused by "an insured person" or "any insured person." These terms are functionally equivalent and refer to all persons, named or unnamed, receiving coverage under the policy. [See Allstate Ins. Co. v. Condon (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 148, 153, 243 Cal.Rptr. 623, 626--relying in part on definition of "an insured" under uninsured motorist statute, Ca Ins § 11580.1(c)(8)]

"Where the policy excludes coverage for bodily injury intended or expected by 'an' or 'any' insured, the cases have uniformly denied coverage for all claims, including negligent supervision claims." [Fire Ins. Exch. v. Altieri (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1352, 1361, 1 Cal.Rptr.2d 360, 366--includes claim against parents for negligent supervision of son who intentionally assaulted schoolmate; see also Zelda, Inc. v. Northland Ins. Co. (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 1252, 1263, 66 Cal.Rptr.2d 356, 362--claims of derivative or vicarious liability excluded]

No preconceived design to inflict harm need be shown "when the insured seeks coverage for an intentional and wrongful act if the harm is inherent in the act itself." [J.C. Penney Cas. Ins. Co. v. M.K., supra, 52 Cal.3d at 1025, 278 Cal.Rptr. at 73 (emphasis added)]

Deliberate act required: Driving a vehicle without being a licensed driver, is a deliberate act. In such cases, it is enough that the insured's child deliberately committed the act resulting in injury. [Fire Ins. Exch. v. Altieri (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1352, 1359-1360, 1 Cal.Rptr.2d 360, 364--(enough that insured's child intended to drive a vehicle without legal justification)

Subjective intent irrelevant: Where the act (such as driving without being licensed) is always wrongful as a matter of law, the insured's intent or motive is irrelevant: "(T)he question is not whether the insured subjectively intended to cause the harm, but whether the conduct was intentional and inherently harmful." [Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Sup.Ct. (Watercloud Bed Co.) (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 320, 331, 23 Cal.Rptr.2d 442, 448; Fire Ins. Exch. v. Altieri, supra, 235 Cal.App.3d at 1359, 1 Cal.Rptr.2d at 364]

Driving a vehicle is inherently harmful. And the potential for harm is magnified when a driver is unlicensed and has had no driver training, or in ignorant of the "rules of the road."

For example, Ca Ins § 533 precludes liability insurance for claims based on the insured's child's willful misconduct. The child's subjective intent (e.g., not to cause damages) is immaterial: "Section 533 precludes coverage . . . because driving a car, absent an emergency, by an unlicensed child is always intentional, and it is always wrongful.

Thank you.

IAAL

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By reading the “Response” to your question or comment, you agree that: The opinions expressed herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE" are designed to provide educational information only and are not intended to, nor do they, offer legal advice. Opinions expressed to you in this site are not intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice to any person reviewing such information. No electronic communication with "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE," on its own, will generate an attorney-client relationship, nor will it be considered an attorney-client privileged communication. You further agree that you will obtain your own attorney's advice and counsel for your questions responded to herein by "I AM ALWAYS LIABLE."



[This message has been edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE (edited June 30, 2000).]
 

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