What Are Connecticut Parental Liability Claims?
While no parent likes to think about it, sometimes our children act in ways that are less than legal. When they do, it can often come as a great shock to learn that we as parents may be on the proverbial hook for the monetary damages. Connecticut has what are called parental liability laws which seek to place some of the liability for damages on the shoulders of parents of minor children. If your child commits a crime or an intentional tort (the equivalent under civil law), it is important that you understand the extent of your own responsibilities under the law.
Parents Held Responsible for Minors
While it can be an unwelcome surprise for parents to find they are liable for the damage their children cause, the rationale for holding them liable is fairly clear. In all walks of life, a parent is responsible for their children until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in Connecticut. This responsibility simply extends to their children’s actions outside the home and immediate family sphere. However, there are limitations on this liability, and it also does not mean that no liability will extend to the minor themselves.
The law states that the maximum monetary threshold for parental liability on behalf of their minor child is $5,000. However, this threshold only applies if a parent is held liable under the specific statute. If a parent is sued for negligence - for example, if they had reason to believe that their child was going to do something violent and took no steps to stop them - that cap would not apply.
Does Not Always Apply
It is important to note that while Connecticut’s parental liability statutes often do apply, this is not always the case. The statute applies only to parents and long-term guardians; temporary guardians whose term lasts one year or less are not covered. Also, the specific tenets of the law under which parents can be held liable seem to exclude certain situations out of hand. In this type of situation, intent does matter; recklessness and/or negligence have to be present for parental liability to trigger.
For example, Connecticut law holds that parents will be held liable if their minor child “willfully or maliciously” causes property damage or bodily injury to another person. This is important because this standard is actually quite difficult to meet in many cases. If a minor child steals a car and crashes it into a light pole, they (or their parents) may not necessarily be held liable, because it can be hard to prove that there was willful or malicious conduct involved in stealing the car, rather than mere recklessness.
Call a Stamford Parental Liability Attorney
It can be a rude awakening when your child causes damage or injury to another person, and sometimes, you will be liable for the damages. Sometimes, however, there may be a way around liability, and consulting a skilled Stamford parental liability lawyer can help shed light on the issue. Attorney Daniel P. Weiner and the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner have years of experience with parental liability and juvenile justice, and we are happy to try and assist you with your case. Contact our office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.