• Kenneth Powell

Can You Sue a Minor for a Car Accident?

It is well within an injured person's rights to seek insurance claims to cover their losses. When the fault party was negligent and resulted in a car accident, the victim can make a claim with the other driver’s carrier. A personal injury accident may sometimes involve children who cause extreme injuries or get hurt by it.


Seeking compensation from such a scenario is outright complicated and awkward. Even so, it won’t be fair for the injured party to go back into their pockets to cater for pain and suffering damages.


This is where personal injury attorneys from Powell Law Firm in Saint Louis, Missouri, come in. These experts help victims secure personal injury compensation. Before anything else, an experienced car accident lawyer has to establish that the other driver involved in an accident is a minor.


In most states, the age where a person is considered an adult is 18. People may schedule a free case evaluation to determine what options an injured party has.


What Is Parental Liability?

What Is Parental Liability?


Parental liability is a legal term that indicates parents are liable for damages caused by minors who were intentionally negligent. The liability will start and ends when the child reaches a certain age. If a child is at fault for an accident due to negligence, their parents will be responsible for the damages under parental responsibility laws.


Overall, if the victim is contemplating suing a child for car accident claims, it’s vital to seek legal judgment from Powell Law Firm in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is better positioned to provide valid information as far as personal injury cases are concerned.


Is a Parent Liable for a Minor Car Accident?


Parents are not automatically liable for minor car accident claims. Liability will depend on state laws, the gravity of personal injuries, and other factors. Various states hold parents accountable for their children's negligence.


A good example is when a child destroys someone’s property; their parents will be directly responsible for the property damage. This can apply to other things too.

Victims can seek compensation through the following situations:


Failure to Supervise

The parent failed to supervise the child, which made them involved in a car accident that caused an injury. All the injuries the victim is suffering from are directly related to the parent's action of not supervising their child.


Parental Negligence

Parents must have known better to entrust their kid with a car, knowing their child is reckless and incompetent. This shows parental negligence.


Family Purpose Doctrine

The guardian entrusted a child with a car to do family-oriented chores. If a child gets into a minor car accident, the guardian is held responsible for the child's negligence.


Parents can also be held liable through vicarious liability. It’s basically being held responsible for the actions of a subordinate. Here are ways how parents are liable vicariously.


Agency Theory

This happens when the minor commits an unlawful act under the supervision of a parent.


Family Car Doctrine

Here, the problem happens when a family car is given to a child and commits a minor car accident under the express or implied consent of a parent.


Permissive Use Doctrine

A parent is vicariously liable for anyone tortious conduct if the vehicle is driven with the owner's consent.


What Does the Injured Party Need to Prove?


In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party is tasked with the burden of proof. There are three main personal injury claims that the lawyers of the injured party have to prove.

To successfully show the failure of supervision, personal injury lawyers must prove:

  • The child was negligent.

  • The child’s negligence caused the personal injury.

  • The parent was negligent by failing to supervise the child.

  • The parent's actions in failing to supervise the child cause the car accident.

As for parental negligence, the injured party must prove:

  • The parent entrusted the vehicle to the kid.

  • Guardians should have known their kid is incompetent and reckless while operating a vehicle.

  • The victim was hurt due to the incompetence of the kid.

  • Using the family doctrine to prove a personal injury lawsuit. Here, the lawyers will show that the kid had consent from the parents to use the car.


What Compensation Does Personal Injury Claim?


Car accident lawyers will sit down with the parent’s insurance company to try and agree on a settlement with regard to the car accident claim. The compensation caters to the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Medical bills


What Limitations Do Parental Liability Laws Have?

What Limitations Do Parental Liability Laws Have?


Most states place limits on the amount the parent’s insurance company has to pay after proving a personal injury case. In most cases, if a child causes accident injuries, the parent has to pay no more than $2,000. Additionally, if the kid is too young, the parent will not be liable for their actions between the ages of eight or younger.


Apart from the above limits, the child's actions will no longer be the responsibility of the parent when the child is emancipated. This basically means that the child is seen as an adult in the court of law. The parental liability law will apply to anyone who has custody of the child, from grandparents, uncles, aunts, and non-relatives in exceptional circumstances.


There are personal injury lawsuits where the parent is criminally liable for a child's actions. In some states, this is a misdemeanor, and if the parent is found guilty, they can face up to one year in jail and be fined $2,500.


Why Work with Local Experienced Lawyers?


Car accidents with minors can sometimes happen. When seeking compensation, it’s imperative to involve a St Louis vehicle accident lawyer. These experts will advise the injured victim on the steps to take to receive compensation.


If the parent is seeking legal counsel, criminal defense lawyers will also be able to help the parent or her child secure their rights and determine if there is any legal defense.


People may contact the Powell Law Firm in Saint Louis, Missouri, for experienced lawyers who are knowledgeable about their state laws and have the best attorney-client relationship. If you have any other accident-related concerns, such as if you can sue someone for lying about a car accident, contact us immediately. Our lawyers also provide legal aid to those who are determining fault in a car accident involving a left turn.


Anyone interested may schedule a free consultation with them today.