Can I Sue the Other Parent if My Child Is Injured?
As a loving parent, nothing is worse than an injury to your child. You may be fully ready for litigation if an adult caused the harm, but is the same true when another minor is the culprit?
A personal injury case requires the hands-on assistance of a competent legal professional to understand how to proceed. However, the following factors can help you consider what to do when someone else’s child injures one of your kids.
Personal injury suits seek to recover damages from someone who caused harm due to negligence or an intentional act. North Carolina courts rarely hold parents responsible for a child’s actions, particularly when one child hurts another on purpose.
The situation could be different when one child injures another due to negligence. While courts are hesitant to hold parents responsible, cases exist where a responsible adult may bear the blame.
When Liability Falls on the Parents
Pursuing a claim against the parents depends on two key factors. First, the other child’s parents must have known that their child was going to hurt yours or could foresee the likelihood of harm. Second, the other parents would have to have the circumstances and ability to restrain their child at the time of the act.
Establishing either of these points is challenging. A child may not share the facts with a parent, and parents are not always in a position to control a child.
When Another Person May Be Responsible
Injuries can occur when children are in the care of another person or institution. For example, your child may attend a public or private school, sports activities, or a childcare facility. Injuries that occur at these locations may make the person or persons in charge liable.
To succeed with such a claim, an injured child’s parent must demonstrate that whoever was supervising the children was negligent and failed to exercise reasonable care. This situation could occur if a teacher or caregiver is inattentive.
In other cases, the organization may not have followed protocol or fulfilled the contract terms regarding the level of supervision. In cases of sports and other games, if a coach or responsible adult encourages children to behave recklessly or aggressively, this could be a sign of negligence.
Factors Concerning Teen Car Accidents
Often, the question of holding parents responsible for injuries arises in cases of teen car accidents. Remember that car insurance follows the car and is the owner’s responsibility, except in some cases where the driver was using the vehicle without permission.
A claim for damages first goes to the vehicle owner’s insurance. If the insurance is not enough to cover damages, the injured persons can bring a case against another responsible party. The parents could be negligent under the family car doctrine that the North Carolina General Statutes allude to in Chapter 20-279.21.
The other situation where a parent is possibly responsible is due to negligent entrustment. In this circumstance, a parent allows a child to operate a vehicle and knows the child will likely cause harm but refrains from preventing the scenario.
How Mills & Mahoney Can Help
As a parent, you have the right to pursue swift justice when your child suffers an injury from someone else’s negligence. Contact Mills & Mahoney at (919) 683-2135 for a free case evaluation to discover your options.