Can You Sue a Minor for Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

What happens if you are injured in an accident by a minor? Can you still sue them to obtain damages and medical financial help if they are under the age of eighteen? This is a complicated matter and not one with a definitive one-size-fits-all answer. Obviously, most children have little to no money. There is no point in suing an eight-year-old for their allowance money. That does not mean, however, that there is no point to suing them.

These types of personal injury cases can cover a wide variety of topics. It could be a child throwing a rock that ends up doing serious damage to you. It could be a child who gets a hold of a weapon from their parents not knowing what it is. It could – and this is most likely – be a minor who has their Driver’s License and gets into an auto accident with you. All of these are valid injuries which you suffered and should be treated as such.

In these types of cases, identifying whether the accident was negligent or intentional is important. If the action was negligent, it means the child was not intending to harm you in any way and maybe did not even know that their action could cause physical harm. If the action was intentional, it means the child did it intending to harm you. If the action was negligent, you cannot normally hold a child liable in court for their actions, but you might be able to sue their parents or guardians. If the action was intentional, you have a chance of suing the minor directly.

There are parental responsibility laws in place that hold parents responsible for some of their children’s actions, in much the same way as employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees. It is also an option to sue the parent and child together, where the suit will be held against the child but the parent will be responsible for paying damages. Even if you were suing the child on their own, it would still be the parent required to pay damages. In all cases involving a minor, your actual approach depends on your personal situation and should be determined with the help of an attorney.

Driving accidents are a little bit different. The minor, as long as they legally have their Driver’s License, will be held responsible by the Insurance Company covering them. To a lesser degree, they will also be held responsible by their parents who signed for them to get their Driver’s License. These injuries are handled the same way with minors as they are with adults, since driving a car is considered an adult activity. If the minor does not have a Driver’s License or Insurance, that complicates things.

The main takeaway here should be that every circumstance is unique and should be approached from its own legal angle. If you were injured by a minor, their age does not mean you don’t stand a chance of recovering damages. Contact John M. Totten, P.C. today to discuss your specific situation and approach. Good people need good lawyers, so give us a call today!

John M. Totten