Legal Question in DUI Law in Wisconsin

Underage drinking & driving

My daughter is 19, a student, still under our medical insurance and lives away from home. I own her car(my name is on the title)she is also under my auto insurance. She is drinking alcohol(she is underage - legal is 21 yrs old) then driving the car. Since she is over 18 are we still responsible for her if she was to get in an accident or caught by the police for drunk driving? Could this affect me financially? If so, how? If so, why since she is over 18.

Thank you.

Asked on 4/08/02, 9:49 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

John A. Birdsall Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.

Re: Underage drinking & driving

It would affect your insurance but you are not "responsible" for her actions. I would have her get her own insurance if she is engaging in this behavior. As you point out, she IS an adult.

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Answered on 4/08/02, 1:22 pm
JAY Nixon nixon law offices

Re: Underage drinking & driving

I believe that there is a significant risk of personal liability for your daughter's driving under the influence so long as the car belongs to you. You acknowledge that she is engaging in illegal behavior by drinking and driving your car while she is underage. This knowledge makes you a certain party in any lawsuit against her for damages related to an at fault accident. You would be joined in the litigation on a theory of negligent entrustment of your vehicle to her for use while her capacity to operate the vehicle is impaired by her unlawful drinking. Your insurer would also be potentially liable, up to the policy limits, but beyond those limits you would be personally liable. Some policies also attempt to exclude coverage for alcohol related damages caused by minors. You should check your policy for this and get the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in auto accident litigation.

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Answered on 4/08/02, 3:56 pm

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