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Geoff Trachtenberg
Geoff Trachtenberg
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Parental Liability for Uninsured Minors That Cause Injury Accidents

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In Arizona, if you are under 18, your application for an instruction permit or driver’s license must be signed by at least one adult. The adult may be responsible for any negligence or willful misconduct when the minor is driving.

The statute, A.R.S. 28-3160, provides that “[n]egligence or wilful misconduct of a minor when driving a motor vehicle on a highway is imputed to the person who signs the application of the minor for a permit or license.” It states that “[t]he person who signs the application is jointly and severally liable with the minor for damage caused by the negligence or wilful misconduct.”

This caveat to this, however, is that the statute is only typically useful where the minor is uninsured. This is because the statute also contains a provision that states, “[t]he parents or guardian of a minor are not liable under . . . this section [if] during the time proof of financial responsibility is maintained by the minor or on behalf of the minor in the form and in amounts required by law for the operation of a motor vehicle . . . . “

That is, if the minor is uninsured, you can go after the parents for the full extent of your damages, but if the minor carries minimum limits (currently $15,000 per person) and your injuries exceed these limits, you are not able to pursue the parents under the liability imposed by this statute.