Parental Liability After a Car Accident in Louisiana

Learning to drive is a rite of passage. There is freedom that comes with being able to take oneself to and from after-school activities, friends’ houses, and school. 

Despite how excited young drivers may feel, their parents normally encounter feelings of trepidation, and for good reason: car accidents among young drivers can be deadly. There are also legal issues that parents may have to contend with if their child gets into an accident.

In the state of Louisiana, parents can be held legally liable for their children’s car wrecks—even if parents are not in the car at the time of a wreck. There are two major legal theories that can influence whether a parent is held financially responsible for their child’s car accident: “negligent entrustment” and “vicarious liability.”

Our attorneys at Pierce & Shows have in-depth experience helping clients after car accidents, and in this blog, we discuss these two legal theories so that you can have a better idea what you and your family might be dealing with.

Negligent Entrustment

One way that parents can be held legally responsible for their child’s actions in a vehicle is through a legal doctrine known as “negligent entrustment.” 

Essentially, this legal theory makes parents negligible if they know their child is unable to operate a motor vehicle safely and if they allow their children to drive anyway. One way that parents can be held responsible for their child’s actions on the road is when they know their child is impaired by drugs or alcohol and allow them to drive anyway.

Some other examples of negligent entrustment include:

  • Giving their child permission to drive without a license
  • Allowing the child to drive knowing that their child was reckless, incompetent, or inexperienced in certain conditions
  • Letting the child get behind the wheel to drive negligently (i.e., texting while driving) 

These cases become even more serious when the accident resulted in serious injury or the death of another passenger. 

If  you have been accused of negligent entrustment due to your child’s accident, your best bet is to get in touch with a Louisiana car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Vicarious Liability

As a parent, you can be held responsible for the actions of your child. 

Vicarious liability refers to control of another person. As a parent of a minor, you have a responsibility to ensure that your children operate the vehicle you own safely. 

Be advised that vicarious liability laws vary from state to state. If your child is involved in an accident outside of Louisiana, it is important to consult with an attorney who understands the liability laws of another state. 

If you are a parent, it is important that you provide your child with all necessary instruction to operate a motor vehicle safely. It is also imperative that you maintain control over how often your child drives, where they drive, and with whom they drive.

Any incidents that compromise your child’s safety or the safety of others should be taken very seriously. 

Beyond ensuring that your child has the knowledge and experience to drive safely, you should take your time shopping for a great auto insurance policy.

It is wise to have coverage beyond state minimums and if you have sizable assets, you may want to invest in an umbrella policy that can help protect you against lawsuits. 

Contact Pierce & Shows today

Our team of attorneys has seen all types of car accidents and personal injury lawsuits, and we’re ready to advise you on the best ways to keep your child safe and keep you all out of court. If your child has been in a car accident or if you are the victim of a car accident caused by a minor, call our Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm at (225) 388-9574.

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