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Can my son be sued for hitting another vehicle while driving his mother’s car?

Asked by user in California.

My son's mother allowed him to drive her car even though she had excluded him as a driver of the vehicle. While driving her vehicle, he hit another vehicle from behind which was occupied by a family of three. Can we expect the other party and/or their insurance company to sue him and/or his mother for damages? If so, what will be the likely outcome?

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

If your son was explicitly excluded from the car insurance policy that covered the vehicle at issue, then the insurance company will likely not provide coverage. To be sure your son was explicitly excluded, you should request a copy of the full policy.

Assuming your son was uninsured when he got into the accident, the family of three (or their insurance company) may file a personal injury lawsuit against your son. His mother may be included as a defendant, but it’s unlikely she’ll be personally liable for any damages.

If the family of three (or their insurance company) obtains a judgment against your son, they will try to collect it. If your son doesn’t have any assets, they’ll likely get a court order allowing them to garnish a certain percentage of his paycheck every month until the judgment is satisfied.

It’s impossible for me to know the likely outcome without knowing more about the case. However, in rear-end crashes, the driver who strikes the other driver from behind is almost always liable. The car in front may be partially liable if, for example, they were missing a rear brake light.

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