Parental Liability for Children's Actions

By Andrew J. Petersen

Children may by liable for both their negligent and intentional torts, although very young children (common law placed the age under seven years) may be deemed incapable. Parent(s) may also be held liable for their child's actions in several circumstances. These include:

1) Parent who signs driver's license application is jointly and severally liable, but only if vehicle is uninsured.

2) Parent who owns a vehicle and permits an unlicensed minor to drive is jointly and severally liable.

3) Family purpose doctrine.

4) Malicious and willful misconduct of minor child; liability is imputed to parent up to $10,000. 

5) Parent may be liable for negligent supervision and negligent entrustment.

For the complete article, contact Humphrey & Petersen, P.C. at, or call (520) 795-1900.