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Can I sue the mother along with her son and win?

Asked by user in Ohio.

A 16-year-old with no license allegedly stole his mother's car and rear-ended me at a stop light. He fled the scene. His mother arrived a couple minutes later. The cops came after almost 2 hours. I overheard the mother say that she reported her call stolen. The estimated damages is close to $800. My deductible is $500. My insurance would only pay $300 and my premium will go up if I process the claim under my insurance. What are my chances of winning a lawsuit?

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

Based on the information you provided, it sounds like the 16-year-old was clearly at fault for the accident. The 16-year-old’s mother may also be partially liable if she allowed her son to drive her vehicle. When you’re involved in a car accident that’s not your fault, you have 3 options:

  1. File an insurance claim with your own insurance company (your insurance company will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver),
  2. File a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
  3. File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

If you don’t want to involve your insurance company, I would recommend filing a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you don’t have the at-fault driver’s insurance information, you should be able to get the information from the responding officer.

Alternatively, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against both the mother and the son (as both may be liable) in small claims court. If you choose to file a lawsuit, be sure to gather all the evidence you can to support your claim (witness statements, police reports, etc.).

You can learn more about filing a lawsuit in small claims court in this handbook published by the Ohio courts.

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