Florida trial lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD explains when a parent is responsible for their minor child's wrongful acts.
It happens all the time, a minor causes an injury to an innocent victim and the victim wants to know if the child's parents can be held responsible for injuries and damages.
The other day I received a phone call from a parent of a child who was beaten up by a child at school and the parent wanted to know if the other child's parents can be held responsible for her child's medical bills. I explained that the parents may be responsible for the injuries if we could meet the elements of Florida law.
What is Florida's law regarding a parent's responsibility for their child's actions?
The general rule is that parents are not responsible for their child's acts that cause injury to a third party. However, all general rules have exceptions and Florida recognizes four situations in which the parent will be responsible:
- The parent entrusts the child with an instrumentality, which because of the child's lack of age, judgment or experience may become a danger to others. For instance, a parent lets a child go out and use a gun, operate a boat, or run a tractor.
- The child injures somebody while acting as the servant or agent of his/her parents. For instance, the child is running an errand for their parent.
- The parent consents, directs or sanctions the wrongdoing.
- The parent fails to exercise control of their child even though the parent knows injury is possible. For instance, the parent knows the child is a bully or has dangerous propensities.
Florida personal injury law can be complex. If you or somebody you know has been injured because of the negligence of a minor, the minor's parents may be responsible for the injuries if one of the above exceptions can be met.
If you have any questions about a Florida personal injury claim, give me a call on my cell at (352) 267-9168 to speak with me directly or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.