Home » Law

Parental Liability for the Acts of Children

Jul 8, 2008
Parents usually feel responsible when their children do bad things - a sense of shortcoming or failure when children make bad choices or carelessly cause harm to another. However, whether parents can be held legally liable for the acts of their children is not commonly known. The answer, not surprisingly, is sometimes "yes" and sometimes "no."

General Rule
The general rule is that the mere relationship of parent and child does not impose any legal liability on the parent for the bad acts or carelessness of the child. Instead, parents can be held liable only where the child is acting as an agent of the parent (that is, acting under the authority or the direction of the parent) or some negligence (carelessness) of the parent made the bad act possible.

Regarding liability as an agent, some examples would include harm resulting from a car accident caused by the negligence of a child when the child was running an errand at the direction of a parent or a parent encouraging a child to physically attack another person.

Parents can also be held liable for their own negligence which contributes to a child causing injury to another. Examples of that type of behavior would be a parent serving a child alcohol and then permitting the child to drive a car, or a parent failing to properly supervise a child in a store, which leads to the child damaging fragile merchandise.

So, the general rule is that the child must have been acting on behalf of the parent or the parent must have made the harm possible through the parent's own negligence in order for the parent to be held legally liable for harm caused by a child.

Statutory Liability
Parents can also be held liable for certain bad acts of their children under a statute titled "Liability for Tortious Acts of Children." That statute provides that any parent whose child is found liable or adjudged guilty by a court of a willful act resulting in personal injuries or property damages shall be held liable to the person who suffers the injury.

The statute applies to willful (intentional) acts of children, such as violence or vandalism. If those types of intentional acts are committed, a parent can be held financially responsible up to certain dollar limits, despite having no prior knowledge, involvement or opportunity to prevent the harm.

The limits of liability are $1,000 for injuries suffered by any one person as a result of one act or a continuous series of acts and the total sum of $2,500, regardless of the number of persons who suffer injury as a result of one act or a continuous series of acts. Accordingly, if a child violently attacks and hurts another child, the parents of the attacking child can be held liable for up to $1,000 of damages. Also, if a child commits a series of continuous acts of vandalism, such as damaging several houses one night, that child's parents could be held liable for $1,000 of damages for each person harmed and a total of $2,500 for the whole vandalism spree, regardless of the amount of damages or number of people affected.

Although the general rule is that parents are not held liable for the acts of their children, there are certain situations in which parents will be held responsible for the bad acts of their offspring.
About the Author
Tim Rayne is the author of numerous publications on Personal Injury Law and is a graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law's Master's in Trial Advocacy Program. Tim can be reached at http://www.macelree.com/traynelaw.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 253
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources