Nusbaum, Stein, Goldstein, Bronstein & Kron, A Professional Corporation
We Are Here To Help. Se Habla Español

Can a parent or guardian be held liable for a child’s motor vehicle negligence? P.1

Last time, we looked briefly at New Jersey’s graduated licensing process for new drivers and the importance of this process for ensuring safe driving habits among young motorists. As we mentioned, it is important for those who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with a younger driver to work with an experienced advocate to seek appropriate compensation, through insurance claims and, if necessary, through the court system.

When a teen driving accident results in catastrophic injuries which exceed the compensation available through insurance claims, seeking additional compensation through the court system is particularly important. In cases involving teen drivers, though, insolvency is likely to be an issue. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may be possible to pursue a teen driver’s parents or guardians for damages.

New Jersey courts have recognized that parents may be liable for the motor vehicle accidents of their children when the child acted as the parent’s agent or employee. This certainly includes situations where the child is using a company vehicle or family vehicle in connection with a family business, as well as other situations where the parent-owner has created some sort of agency relationship with the child.

Determining exactly when an agency relationship exists is not always an easy matter. New Jersey courts have recognized that a child may, in some situations, be found to be acting as an agent of a parent when the child used a family vehicle owned by one or both of the parents for a “family purpose.” Simply providing a vehicle to a child to use, however, doesn’t necessarily trigger liability for the parent in the event of an accident.

We’ll continue looking at this issue in our next post.


Haggerty v. Cedeno, 279 N.J.Super. 607, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (1995).

Willett v. Ifrah, 298 N.J.Super. 218, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (1997). 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

Nusbaum Stein
Town Centre Building
66 Sunset Strip
Suite 205
Succasunna, NJ 07876

Toll Free: 866-397-5451
Phone: 973-245-9780
Fax: 973-584-8747
Succasunna Law Office Map

Review Us