CACI No. 723. Liability of Cosigner of Minor’s Application for Driver’s License

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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723.Liability of Cosigner of Minors Application for Drivers
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was harmed by
[name of minor]’s negligence in operating the vehicle and that [name of
defendant] is responsible for the harm because [name of defendant] signed
[name of minor]’s application for a driver’s license. To establish this
claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of minor] was negligent in operating the vehicle;
2. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed;
3. That [name of minor]’s negligence was a substantial factor in
causing the harm;
4. That [name of defendant] signed [name of minor]’s application for
a driver’s license; and
5. That at the time of the collision [name of minor]’s driver’s license
had not been canceled or revoked by the Department of Motor
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
Liability of Cosigner of Minors Drivers License Application. Vehicle Code
section 17707.
No Liability if Minor is Agent of Another. Vehicle Code section 17710.
Application for Relief From Liability. Vehicle Code section 17711.
“Cancellation accomplishes voluntarily what revocation [of minors drivers
license] accomplishes involuntarily. If termination is accomplished by the latter
method, resort to the former becomes superfluous. Once revocation occurs, the
driving privilege is at an end. Thereafter there is no reason and no necessity for
a voluntary application to terminate that which has already been terminated
involuntarily. Both means are equally effective to terminate the driving privilege
and to terminate the signers liability.” (Hamilton v. Dick (1967) 254 Cal.App.2d
123, 125 [61 Cal.Rptr. 894].)
“[T]he negligence of the minor son of the [parents] is imputed to them . . . by
virtue of their having signed his application for an operators license, which was
not revoked or cancelled at the time of the accident in question, notwithstanding
the fact that the license was then temporarily suspended” and even though the
parents specifically forbade the minor from operating the vehicle. (Sleeper v.
Woodmansee (1936) 11 Cal.App.2d 595, 598 [54 P.2d 519].)
“It seems quite evident that, in adopting [the predecessors to sections 17150 and
17707] of the Vehicle Code, the legislature intended to create a limited liability
for imputed negligence against both the owner of an automobile and the signer
of a drivers license. . . . We must assume the legislature intended to fix a
limited liability . . . for imputed negligence against the owner of an automobile
and the signer of a drivers license or either of them and that it did not intend to
double that limited liability when the same individual was both the owner of the
machine and the signer of the license.” (Rogers v. Foppiano (1937) 23
Cal.App.2d 87, 92-93 [72 P.2d 239].)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1412-1415
California Tort Guide (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) Automobiles, §§ 4.41, 4.43
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 20, Motor Vehicles, § 20.30[2] (Matthew Bender)
8 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 82, Automobiles: Causes of Action,
§ 82.16, Ch. 83, Automobiles: Bringing the Action, § 83.134 (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 25:52 (Thomson Reuters)

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