Parents’ Liability for Intentional Injuries caused by a Minor

As a parent of a minor child who is in your physical and legal custody, you are well advised to supervise your children and make everything in your power to prevent them from getting in violent fights and intentionally causeing injuries to others, as California law imposes serious liability on parents of minor children in such situations.

In addition to any liability for negligent supervision of children who cause injury or damage to property, a parent or a guardian is liable under California Civil Code section 1714.1 for intentional miconduct of a child (such as criminal acts, destruction of property, etc.) Any act of a minor which results in injury or death to another person or damage to property will be imputed to the parent for all purposes of civil damages. The parent or guarding having custody (physical custody and not just legal custody required). The liability of a parent for each such act by a minor was originally limited to $25,000.00 when this law was enacted, but is being adjusted by judicial council every two years and is currently at about $35,000.00.

If the insurance coverage applies to the injury or damage caused by a minor, the insurer will not be liable for more than $10,000.00 of the total sum.

Liability is also imposed by statute on parents for the intentional misconduct of children in other situations. These include:

  • intentional act resulting in injury or death to any student or any person employed by performing volunteer services for a school district or private school. Cal. Education Code setion 48904(a);
  • intentional or negligent act by a minor in driving a parent’s vehicle with parent’s express or implied permission. Cal. Vehicle Code section 17150 and 17707;
  • Injury caused by a discharge of a weapon by a minor under 18 years if the parent either permitted the minor to have a firearm or left the firearm in a place accessible to the minor, although such liability is limited to $30,000 for injury to or death of one person per one injured person or $60,000 for injury to or death of all persons involved in a single event. Cal. Civil Code section 1714.3.

California Dog Bite Injuries

The owner of any dog is liable for the injuries and damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place of lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully on the private property of the dog’s owner when he or she is performing any duty imposed by law or postal regulations, or when he or she is on the property by the express or implied invitation of the owner.

This liability does not preclude all common law defenses. In the proper case, a dog owner may raise the defense of assumption of risk or willfully invited injury. If a person knows and and appreciates the danger involved in encountering an animal such as a hostile and barking dog, and voluntarily accepts the risk by exposing himself to the hazard, the injured person may not recover under the statute.

The defense of assumption of the risk extends only to the danger that the injured person has knowingly assumed. The dog owner would generally not be relieved of liability of the victim’s injuries if he purposefully or negligently concealed a particular hazard, since this would expose the injured person to an unknown risk.

San Francisco Accident Injury Lawyer: Police report and liability in the accident

You have just been involved in a car accident. You might be hesitating who you should call for help, and whether it’s a good idea to call anyone at all. It is very important to contact the police immediately after the accident, especially if any of the parties suffered serious injuries. The arriving police officer will gather all the available information and evidence from the scene of the collision – the statements of parties, parts of the vehicle, if any, will make the measurements of any skidmarks on the road, and will take down all the personal and insurance information of the drivers involved in the accident.

It is not uncommon, however, for a police report to contain incorrect information or even find the wrong party at fault, as the officer who prepares the report bases his conclusions on the statements received from other people, which are often incorrect or even biased. It is important to remember, however, that although the findings in the police reports are evidence of liability, they are no conclusive and are definitely subject to dispute. First, you can contact the police officer who prepared the collision report, discuss the accident and request that he/she amend the report in light of overlooked facts. The police officer may or may not supplement the original report, as the office has the ultimate discretion on preparing the document.

It is just as effective or even more effective to conduct your own investigation and submit your findings to the insurance company in order to dispute liability prove that the other party was liable. You may want to go back to the scene of the incident, take pictures or even a short movie of the intersection if you need to prove that the other drivers should have seen you and had enough time to stop. The insurance company will gladly consider any new evidence, especially in a serious accident, as they are very interested in avoiding significant liability and would rather settle a serious injury case early than argue over liability, litigate the claim and possible incur a much more significant liability and attorney’s fees.

If you have been recently involved in an injury accident in the San Francisco area or anywhere in Northern California, and would like to discuss your claims, contact Arkady Itkin – San Francisco injury lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the injury incident you have been involved in.