Teen driver distracted by her cell phone.

Can You Sue When if You Are Injured by a Minor?

Adults have the experience and capacity to appreciate the potential harm resulting from their actions, and if they choose to intentionally harm someone or put someone at risk with their actions they should be held accountable for that behavior. What happens, however, when your injury is caused by a minor? Many people are uncertain if they can sue in these situations, as well as who can be held liable for the minor’s behavior. Read on to learn about your options in these situations.

Can a Minor Ever be Held Accountable for Causing an Injury?

In California, minors can be held accountable for injuries they cause to others under certain circumstances. In these situations, rather than suing the minor, the law allows for victims to file lawsuits against the parents or guardians of the minor.

Intentional Misconduct

California law allows for lawsuits to be filed against parents or guardians with custody and control of minors for willful misconduct of a minor. For example: if a minor willfully assaults or batters you, and causes you physical harm, you can sue their parents or guardian for medical, dental and hospital costs.

Firearm Injuries

Parents or guardians of minors who permit them to have a firearm, or made a firearm accessible to the minor, can be liable for any injuries to persons or properties caused by the minor with that firearm as a result. California currently allows for recovery up to $30,000 for the death or injury of one person, and up to $60,000 for the death of all persons as a result of one occurrence.

Driving Injuries

If a minor negligently injures you while driving, such as while texting and driving, their parent or guardian who signed their application for a driver’s license can be held jointly and severally liable for your injuries so long as the minor was driving with the parent or guardian’s express or implied permission. California allows for recovery up to $15,000 for one injury or death per accident, up to $30,000 for injury or death to all persons in one accident, and up to $5,000 for damage to property.

Petty Theft

If a minor steals from you, and you are a merchant, school, or library, California law places imputed liability upon their parents or legal guardian. In these cases, the law allows for recovery up to $500.

Property Damage

California law also allows parents and guardians to be held liable for property damage resulting from graffiti or other defacement of property with paint, or willful injury caused to school property. Recovery amounts vary in these cases according to the circumstances of the case, but many claims can be brought for up to $10,000.

Harmed by a Minor? Contact J&Y Law for Help Bringing Your Claim

Being harmed by a minor does not mean that you cannot recover for your injuries. The California personal injury attorneys at J&Y Law are experienced in bringing a wide range of personal injury cases, including situations where the injury was caused by a minor. We will carefully assess the circumstances of your case to determine if their parent or guardian may be held liable, and will fight to ensure you recover for medical costs, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us today.