If a child’s actions result in injury to another party, is that child legally responsible?
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of the accident and the age of a child. One of the most pertinent issues in determining an answer is whether the action was negligent or intentional.
A negligent action is a result of carelessness, while an intentional action is one done on purpose. For example, if a child is throwing rocks at trees but the rock goes into the road and hits a vehicle, causing an accident, this is an example of negligence. But if a child is on an overpass throwing rocks off a bridge specifically to hit cars, this is an act of intent.
Most states will allow you to sue a child (or, much more commonly, the child’s parents or guardians) for injuries caused by intentional acts, but you may have limited recourse to sue for children’s actions of negligence.
If it was an act of negligence, a young child will typically not be held to the same standard as an adult. However, a teen driver will likely be held to the same standard as an adult in car accident cases.
Parents can be held financially responsible for damages caused by their children, whether intentional or negligent. This is because as minors, children are not expected to have the same understanding of right and wrong, and also do not have any assets of their own to pay fines.
Typically, if you are to file a lawsuit due to a child’s actions that resulted in injury, the defendant will be the parents.
For more information about how to proceed with such a lawsuit, contact a skilled Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.