A Smart Parent’s Guide to Liability

Safe home, parent liability

One of the most controversial terms in the legal realm is parent liability and what it means exactly when a child is involved in an accident. Advocating to be the cool parent and taking on excess responsibility could have consequences later on when your child acts on these behaviors. Also, parent liability can also be the saving grace you need financially for assistance with damages and restoring the quality of life for your child.

What is parent liability?

Parent liability refers to the parent's obligation and responsibility to cover any financial costs for damages or injuries that were inflicted by their child. This refers to children between the ages of 10 and 17, where they have a conscious understanding of right and wrong. Since children are considered minors under the age of 18, they cannot necessarily be held responsible in all cases for the damage they have inflicted. As the parent, it is their responsibility to assist financially in the place of their underage child.

What type of damages are covered with parent liability?

  • Property/material damages
  • Medical damages
  • Emotional trauma

The damages that children can inflict on each other may be materialistic damage that needs to be replaced or repaired. The damage could also be physical, requiring medical assistance and procedures to restore their health back to its present state. Depending on the case and the extent of the trauma, their emotional health could be damaged and counseling or therapy sessions required. Essentially, any costs related to the incident in question can be recovered with parent liability, especially when innocent parents have been covering all financial obligations.

What incidents require parent liability?

Whether the incident was an accident or done purposely by the other child, damages and repairs are still required. These incidents can range into a number of things, but the following are the most common.

  • Car accidents
  • Fighting/ Altercations
  • Bullying
  • Vandalism
  • Theft/Robbery

In most cases, the incidents where one family is seeking parent liability, there has been a criminal act of some caliber inflicted by the child of those parents. Destroying property or causing physical harm requires someone to take responsibility for the actions.

Civil vs. Criminal Parent Liability

In the civil realm, this action is taken by the affected party seeking monetary gains for their damages. These matters cycle through civil court, especially if the at-fault child showed no signs of malicious intent to harm the other. These cases are pursued without government interference.

Criminal parent liability, however, is applied by the government and court system, especially if the child committed a crime that is a felony in nature. This refers to not only destroying government property but other damages that may have been caused due to the nature of the event. This means that the parents of the child could be charged with negligence of their children and forced to cover additional consequences aside from monetary costs.

Do you need representation?

If you are facing a potential case for parent liability or may want to pursue this action against another party, you need the appropriate representation and a legal team that is aware of what parent liability means. At Cooney & Conway, we are happy to provide a free evaluation to determine if we are the right representation for you. Give us a call today at (800) 322-5573 for more information.