Parental Liability In A Motor Vehicle Accident

According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, if your son or daughter causes an accident while driving your vehicle, you could be financially liable for the other party’s injuries and property damage. This law provides explicit guidelines regarding a parent’s liability in a motor vehicle accident that resulted careless or negligent driving. Furthermore, the law also states that, unless someone was driving the vehicle without the registered owner’s consent, that they will be held liable for any financial losses and property damage.

Proof of Consent

In order for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Barrie to build a strong case, they must determine if the owner of the vehicle gave their consent to the person driving it when the collision occurred. In some cases, it’s obvious that the owner did not give their consent such as when the vehicle has been stolen and the theft has been reported to the authorities. If the vehicle is stolen and the thief gets involved in an accident, the registered owner will not be held responsible for any damages or injuries.

Unfortunately, there are cases where consent is difficult to prove. For instance, if another person is living in your home and often borrows your vehicle without informing you about it, this could be what is known as “implied consent.” According to the legal dictionary at, the definition of implied consent is as follows:

“Consent when surrounding circumstances exist which would lead a
a reasonable person to believe that this consent had been given, although
no direct, express or explicit words of agreement had been uttered.”

In any event, if the individual who borrowed your vehicle under the guise of implied consent gets into an accident, you could be held liable and have to pay for the other driver’s losses and property damage. You might not be able to handle all aspects of your case but the lawyer will be able to help you navigate through the legal complexities.

Additional Considerations and Exceptions

In cases where the parent doesn’t have legal custody of the person driving their vehicle, they will not be held liable for the accident. Additionally, a parent won’t be held liable if their teenage son or daughter once they reach 18 years of age (the age of majority) and the child is the registered owner of the vehicle. For all intents and purposes, and from a financial standpoint, it won’t matter who is legally liable provided the child is on their parent’s auto insurance and they have sufficient policy limits. If additional information is needed, discuss your parental liability concerns with a personal injury lawyer today.