Who Is Responsible for Little Jimmy?

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So, who should you sue if a minor caused a collision?  Well, according to Wisconsin law Section 343.15(2)(b)

(b) Any negligence or willful misconduct of a person under the age of 18 years when operating a motor vehicle upon the highways is imputed to the parents where both have custody and either parent signed as sponsor, otherwise, it is imputed to the adult sponsor who signed the application for such person’s license. The parents or the adult sponsor is jointly and severally liable with such operator for any damages caused by such negligent or willful misconduct.

What does this mean?  If anyone under the age of 18 causes a car accident a plaintiff in Wisconsin should first worry about finding an insurance company to name in the Summons and Complaint.  Then name the negligent child along with both parents.  Leave enough time in before the statute of limitations runs to allow for discovery to know exactly who are the “proper” parents or sponsor per statute.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and  Germantown.
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