Parental liability refers to a parent’s obligation to pay for damages caused by their minor child’s negligence, intentional, or criminal acts. These situations arise in cases where a minor’s conduct results in damages to another. Under M.R.S.A §304, Maine parents and legal guardians maintain liability for damage by their children. The statute provides that parents and legal guardians of minors between the ages of 7 and 17 years old who willfully or maliciously cause damage or injury to another person will be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the damage or injury. However, the statute only applies in situations where the minor lives with the parent or legal guardian and limits liability to $800. The statute does not relieve the minor from personal liability for the incident.
While some injury victims may be wary of filing a lawsuit against a minor, it is often necessary. A minor’s negligence, willfulness, or maliciousness can result in significant injuries and even death to another. For instance, a news report recently described a harrowing incident that took the life of a 3-year-old boy. The accident occurred when a 13-year-old girl ran over the young boy, resulting in his death. According to witnesses, the 13-year-old was under the watch of the young boy’s parents. The mother got out of the car, and as she did, the 13-year-old girl unbuckled the toddler, put him in the driveway, jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to flee. While doing so, she ran over the boy, killing him in front of his family. State Police stated that the case is under investigation; however, the crash report stated that the girl acted in an erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner. Police have not ruled out charges against the girl.
The damages cap on parental liability is quite low and rarely meets the expenses and losses that a victim or their family faced. In those situations, injury victims should consult with an attorney to discuss other avenues for relief. In some cases, a victim may claim damages against a homeowners policy, renters insurance policy, or motor vehicle insurance policy. Moreover, an attorney can help identify any other responsible parties that may be liable for the damages. These cases require an in-depth understanding of complex statutory and procedural rules, so it is essential to contact an experienced attorney to discuss how to proceed.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Another’s Negligence?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died because of the negligence or recklessness of another, the attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help you. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience handling complex Maine injury cases. We represent clients in their claims stemming from Maine motor vehicle accidents, premises liability claims, defective products, dog bites, and medical malpractice. Our attorneys provide clients with individualized case strategies and personalized attention to address their specific needs and concerns. We provide compassionate and effective representation to those looking to recover compensation for their damages. Contact our office at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our legal team.