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While some parents may be aware of this fact, some aren’t. Most states will actually hold parents liable for the actions of their children. In most cases, these acts must be intentional by the child and not an accident. However, the specifics regarding this type of law vary according to the state that you live in.
Parental Responsibility Laws
Started back in 1846 in the state of Hawaii, many other states enacted laws regarding the legal responsibility of parents for their minor children. These laws tend to include both civil and criminal acts taken by a child. You can ask any Los Angeles personal injury attorney to further define what is entailed in these types of state laws.
The whole concept behind enacting these laws is to place a burden of responsibility on parents. This way, they properly supervise their minor children. It’s also to ensure that the injured party doesn’t have to undergo the financial burden of the situation where they were not the wrongdoer.
What Age Do Children’s Actions Fall On Their Parents?
As you learned above, parents are legally responsible for the actions of their children. However, you may be wondering what age these children have to be. Will parents with adult children still be liable for their wrongdoings?
Any good Los Angeles juvenile injury attorney will tell you that these parental responsibility laws apply to minor children. These are considered individuals under the age of 18. In some states, the legal responsibility may be stated as a shorter period of time, such up to the age of 16 years old. In other states, the legal responsibility of the parent goes up to age 21. It’s best to check with a lawyer for child injuries at school in your state to learn the age restrictions.
A Look At A Few Different State Laws
Now, you should have a decent idea of what parental responsibility laws are. However, there may be some grey area that you need help assessing. To assist in filling in those voids of learning, we’re going to take a look at some real life examples below.
In The State Of California:
Under California law, parents are held responsible for the willful actions of their children under the age of 18 that result in injury, property damage, or even death. Each category has its own specific liability limit. For example, a parent is responsible for any injury their child willfully caused up to $25,000 in medical expenses.
In The State Of Illinois
Parents can be held responsible for their child’s willful destruction of property. This includes places like mosques, cemeteries, and churches for an amount of up to $20,000 per single incident.
In The State Of Louisiana
As you saw above, other states do put financial responsibility limitations on the amounts that parents must pay. In the state of Louisiana, there is no financial exposure limit that a parent has. They can be held liable up to any amount considered by a ruling judge in the case.
In The State Of Maine
In Maine, the state protects parents to a great extent. The most parents must pay out for any incident regarding the fault of their child is $800. This holds true whether or not this $800 will cover the actual loss that the injured party incurred from the incident that your child was willfully responsible for.
In The State Of New Jersey
The state of New Jersey takes a stance similar to the state of Maine. They hold parents responsible for their child’s willful acts up to a cap of $5,000. These acts are restricted to property damage of schools, public utilities, and railroads.
Parental Liability With Minor Car Damage And Injuries
Your lawyer will reveal that car accidents that result in property damage or physical injuries are found under a specific statute in state laws. These are referred to by many states as sponsorship laws. In states that have these laws, any adult over the age of 18 must sponsor a minor for that minor to obtain a valid driver’s license.
This sponsorship is usually obtained by the minor’s child. However, another adult family member, friend, or known associate may sponsor the minor so the minor can obtain their driver’s license. Your attorney can reveal to you the specifics about who can be a sponsor and how the whole process works.
The adult sponsor of the minor is essentially making themself responsible for the willful misconduct of that child. If the minor is neglectful when driving and that neglect results in property damage or injury, the adult sponsor is held liable for the damages. These laws tend to hold true regardless of whether or not the sponsor owns the vehicle or the minor was under the immediate control of the adult sponsor.
A Quick Summary Of What We’ve Learned
As a parent, you are responsible for the willful actions of your children. While every state is a little different in their specifics like age restriction, liability is something that you need to be aware of. You can talk with a lawyer for child injuries at school to understand the specific parental responsibilities laws that are followed within your individual state.
When it comes to obtaining a driver’s license, your minor is going to need you or another adult to sponsor them. If you opt to sponsor your minor child, realize that you’re going to be held responsible for their actions while doing so. Any personal injury lawyer for claims involving minors will tell you that minors are much more likely to be involved in an accident than the average adult. Therefore, it’s important that you understand your financial liability from the beginning so you can put necessary protection in place to ensure your financial well-being.