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Can a Parent Be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused by His or Her Child?

Is There Parental Liability in New Jersey for the Negligence of a Minor Child?

Can a Parent Be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused by His or Her ChildYour child now has a drivers’ license and occasional use of the family car. While out driving, he or she causes a motor vehicle accident, resulting in injuries to another person. Can your child be held legally responsible in a personal injury lawsuit? Can you be held liable for the negligence of your minor child?

Can a Minor Be Held Responsible for Personal Injury in New Jersey?

Under prevailing New Jersey law, certain minors have a duty to “act with the same amount of care as children of similar age, judgment and experience.” As a general rule, children under the age of 7 are presumed in New Jersey to be unable to engage in negligence. If, however, a jury determines that a minor had the ability to understand the consequences of his or her actions and had received proper training to minimize the risk of injury, the minor may be held liable for negligence. As a practical matter, though, a minor child will typically lack the resources to satisfy a personal injury judgment. Accordingly, the injured party will typically look to either the parents of the minor child or the parents’ insurance company.

Can the Parents’ Insurer Be Held Liable?

As a general rule, if the parent lists the minor child as a potential driver of the vehicle, the insurance company will be required to pay any claims related to accidents caused by the minor child.

Can a Parent Be Sued for the Negligence of a Minor Child in a Motor Vehicle Accident in New Jersey?

As a general rule, a parent will only be held liable for accidents caused by a minor child if it can be shown that the parent’s negligence caused or contributed to causing the accident. For example, if the parent allowed the child to drive the family car, knowing that child was an unskilled, inexperienced or poor driver, that may be sufficient basis to establish negligence or carelessness.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send as an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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