Can a Parent Be Liable for an Accident Caused by Their Child?
Car crashes, especially those that result in serious injuries or fatalities, can have devastating consequences. Collisions caused by children are not exceptions. In addition, child car accidents can also be very taxing to deal with in a legal setting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crash injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. In 2016, 732 children under the age of 12 died in car accidents.
If a car accident is caused by a teenage driver, there are some situations when the child’s parents can be held civilly liable for the resulting damages. An experienced Orange County car accident attorney will need to investigate the facts of the case to determine who can be held liable for the accident.
Holding Parents Liable for Children’s Car Crash
Parents of minor drivers who are involved in car collisions generally cannot be held responsible since it was the children’s actions that caused the accident. However, there are circumstances where you can claim parental liability for your injuries if the crash was caused by a teenage driver. These include:
• Statutory liability. A statutory liability suit holds the parents negligent, not for causing the accident, but rather for the child’s negligent behavior based on their legal status as the child’s parents.
• Parental negligence. A parental negligence theory of liability covers both negligent entrustment and negligent oversight. Both theories are based on whether the parent was behaving irresponsibly. Negligent entrustment involves proving that as the owner of the car the parent was negligent allowing their minor child to drive it. Negligent oversight means the parents are liable for the child’s negligent acts if they failed to control their child despite knowing they should have.
• Family purpose doctrine. Under this doctrine, whoever owns the family car is responsible for any damages caused by the family member who was driving it, regardless of whether the driver had permission to get behind the wheel.
Under California law, parental liability for children’s car crashes are covered under California Vehicle Code Sections 17707 and 17708. If your Orange County child car accident attorney is able to hold a teen driver’s parents liable for the resulting crash, you may be entitled to compensation for:
• Present and future medical expenses, including hospital and therapy costs
• Loss of wages
• Loss of earning capacity
• Pain and suffering
• Punitive damages
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation. As a family member of a loved one who died in an accident, you may also be entitled to compensation. To ensure you get the full money damages you deserve, you need to consult with and hire an Orange County accident attorney.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an OC car accident lawyer, please call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas at (888) 848-5084.