Liability Incurred With Signing a Minor’s Driver License Application

sign a formDid you know you are liable for the harm a minor causes if you signed his or her application to drive?

Liability Incurred When Signing a Minor’s Driver’s License Application

  • Persons who permit a minor to drive a vehicle upon the public highways are liable for the tort of the minor under California law.
  • That means if you signed a minor’s application for a driver’s license, and the minor harms someone, and/or their property, while driving, you are financially liable for the harm a minor causes the victim for his or her bodily injuries and property loss.

How Much Liability Might You Incur?

Unless the minor is acting under an agency (e.g., carrying out a duty for their employer), your liability as the signer is limited to:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for more than one
  • $5,000 for property damage

Notwithstanding the statutory law, a victim may obtain a court judgment against you in excess of the maximum which is not void, but may be reduced on appeal.

How May Your Liability be Terminated?

  • By cancellation of the minor’s license, or on receipt by the DMV of satisfactory evidence of your death
  • By cancellation of the license at your request
  • By cancellation of the license, on receipt by the DMV of satisfactory evidence of a change in custody and request of the persons to whom custody has been transferred
  • By revocation of the license as a penalty under the law
  • By the minor providing proof of the ability to pay for damages, e.g., by having an insurance policy or a bond with sufficient coverage. This may be accomplished by an application with the consent of the persons required to sign, or if the minor is emancipated other than by marriage, by an application of the minor alone

Rancho Bernardo Senior Services provides free legal consultations every Monday.

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