The law applies different standards to different age groups when deciding whether a minor is liable for causing injuries to another person. Very young children (10 years old or under) are generally not held liable for accidental injuries they cause. Brad Parker says, “Because negligence and carelessness imply an understanding of risks, which most children lack, they can’t be held liable.”
There are several other differences that apply to personal injury cases where a minor is at fault. For instance, in a personal injury case in which the accident only involves adults, there is a two-year limit starting at the accident’s date for the statute of limitations. When there is a minor involved in an accident, this is not the same. With a minor, the statute of limitations starts after the minor turns 18. This means that if a 7-year-old were in an accident, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit would not start until the child turns 18, and then would have up to two years to file.
Another difference is that when a minor is involved in a case, a guardian ad litem is needed. A guardian ad litem is a person who represents the minor throughout the entire process of litigation. More often than not, this person is the parent. If the parent was involved or to blame for the accident, then there may be a guardian ad litem appointed by the court.
As children get older, parental liability ends when the child reaches the “age of majority,” meaning the child is legally recognized as an adult. In almost every state, the age of majority is 18 for civil matters and 17 for criminal actions. When a teen who is still a minor is driving, they are likely covered by their parent’s insurance policy, or they may have their own. If the minor is not on a parent’s insurance or the vehicle being driven is owned by the parents, the parent is considered to be liable, which means the injured party is able to collect from the insurance of the parent. Brad says, “Now when you are talking about teens who are driving negligently, parents could be held accountable especially in cases where the parents were aware their child is an aggressive driver, such as getting several speeding tickets or having multiple accidents in the past.”
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Area Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free consultation. We help car accident victims throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.