All residents of California have a legal duty to exercise a high standard of care to prevent harm or injury to others. But do minors have the same duty as adults in the state?
We all have heard stories of minors in Los Angeles and all across California walking away Scott-free from liability after causing serious harm to those around them. And if you are reading this, chances are you have been injured by a minor, too, and are looking for some advice on filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Can you sue a minor under 18 in California?
“You probably think that there is no way you can sue a minor if you have been injured as a result of his or her negligent act or omission to act, but this is not entirely true,” says our Los Angeles personal injury attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP.
If you have been injured by a minor, it depends on the circumstances of your particular case to determine who can be held liable for the minor’s actions. Under California law, people under 18 can be held responsible for their own actions that cause injury to others only in a limited number of situations.
Generally, in these situations, you cannot file a personal injury claim against the minor. Rather than bringing a claim against the minor, California law allows injured victims to sue the minor’s parents or guardians.
Situations in which the minor’s parents or guardians can be held liable
The parents or guardians of a minor who caused your injury can be sued in California if the minor intentionally assaulted or battered you. Those with custody and control of the minor can be held accountable for the young individual’s actions.
Similarly, parents or guardians of minors who permit them to carry a firearm or fail to prevent a firearm from getting into the hands of a minor can be held liable for any injuries and property damages resulting from the minor’s use of the weapon.
One of the most common scenarios in which you can be hurt by a minor in California is a car accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the state. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney explains that in the event of a car crash involving an at-fault minor, the minor’s parents or guardians who signed the child’s application for a driver’s license can also be held accountable for your injuries and damages.
However, your lawyer will have to prove that the minor was driving the vehicle with the parent or guardian’s express or implied permission. In California, victims of car accidents caused by individuals under the age of 18 can be entitled to financial compensation of up to $15,000 for one injury or death per accident.
Even if you have not been injured by a minor but your property has been damaged as a result of a minor’s negligent, wrongful, or willful actions, you may be entitled to recover damages, too. How much your case against a minor can be worth depends on a variety of factors in your case.
Get a free consultation from our best personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles. If you have been harmed by a minor, you need to speak to an attorney to know how to proceed with your case under your circumstances.