Can a Parent Be Held Responsible if their Child Injures Someone Else?
Generally, a parent or legal guardian is not liable for wrongful acts committed by a child. However, a parent or legal guardian may be held accountable for the actions of a child, between 10 and 18 years old, when the child placed a false bomb, falsely reported an incident, intentionally damaged public or private property, intended to deprive a property owner, or knowingly entered a building and wrongfully took or withheld personal property. Gen. Oblig. § 3-112.
When determining a parent’s potential liability, Courts consider whether the child acted with the parent’s consent, approval, or authority, and whether the parent knew or should have known of the child’s propensity toward violence, but failed to reasonably restrain the child. Courts also consider whether the parent negligently allowed the child to access a dangerous instrument, or an instrument that could be considered dangerous based on the child’s known propensities.
Depending on the nature, size, and use of the device, and the child’s age and competence, an instrument may be considered dangerous. Cars, motorcycles, ATVs, chainsaws, knives, and hammers are generally considered dangerous instruments. Seesaws, bicycles, and skateboards are generally not considered dangerous instruments.
The statute does not apply to foster parents, the state, or a local social services department.
If you or a loved one has a personal injury case involving a child, a personal injury lawyer can help. It is important to consult with an attorney early to investigate your options, and preserve crucial evidence. For assistance with these matters, please contact us to learn more.
About the author: Kristen M. Dombroski represents those with serious injuries in the Rochester area. Her capabilities cover personal injury resulting from a variety of situations including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall injuries and other situations where injury results due to the negligence of others. Please feel free to contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 512-3526.
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