Parents Can Be Liable for the Car Accidents of Teens in the State of Mississippi
Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time. Teens finally have the freedom to go places without parental supervision. That means no longer taking the bus to school, and the chance to go on dates on the weekend. But with that freedom comes much more responsibility. Along with having to pay for a car and gas, and learning the rules of road, new young drivers in the state of Mississippi can also be held liable for any damage and injuries they cause as a result of negligence behind the wheel. And under Mississippi Law Section 63-1-25, the parents of children under the age of 17 can be held responsible for those accidents as well if they signed off on the application for a license or permit.
Mississippi Driver’s Licenses Laws and Parental Responsibility
The state of Mississippi differs from many other states by having a graduated driver’s license program. That means that new drivers require a little less supervision with each new permit or license they acquire. At age 14, prospective new drivers can apply for a learner’s permit if they are enrolling in driver’s education classes. The next year, they’re eligible for a regular learner’s permit, which allows them to drive with any licensed driver over the age of 21 in the car supervising them. At age 16, a teenager can apply for an intermediate license if he or she has had a learner’s permit for at least 12 months. And after six months with an intermediate license, a driver is finally eligible for a regular driver’s license. At every step along the way, except for the regular driver’s license, the teen’s application must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
And under Mississippi law, that signature is more than just a rubber stamp. The law states that any person who signs an application for a driver’s permit or license along with a minor is jointly and severally liable for the damages caused by negligence or willful misconduct on the part of the minor. And unfortunately, no matter how much training and supervision new drivers have, some accidents are unavoidable.
What that means if that if the new driver causes an accident that results in any sort of damage or injury, the person who signed off on the application can be just as responsible for the damages as the driver.
Need Legal Advice?
Car accidents are difficult no matter who is involved, but cases involving minor drivers pose additional challenges. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Mississippi, an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands all facets of tort law can help. Contact The Law Offices of Judy Guice today for a free consultation about how to best proceed with your case.