A teenager was hurt when he was hit by an ATV that was being driven by another teenager. The crash, while not a car accident, caused injuries that were serious enough for the victim to be carried to the hospital via helicopter. The incident raises the legal issue of when parents can be held liable for crashes caused by their children.
ATV Accident Seriously Hurts Teen
According to initial reports, on the evening of Thursday, April 12, a 14-year-old boy was crossing Main Street in Breckenridge, Missouri, approximately 60 miles east of St. Joseph. Before he could reach the other side, though, the teenager was hit by an ATV that was being driven by another 14-year-old boy.
The pedestrian was seriously hurt in the crash. He was carried to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City in a helicopter. The driver of the ATV was not hurt in the accident.
Parental Liability When a Child Intentionally Causes Damage or Injuries
Missouri has a law, Missouri Revised Statute 537.045, which holds parents accountable for injuries or damages that their children commit, intentionally. This law can require the child’s parents to pay up to $2,000 in compensation to a victim of their child’s intentional conduct.
Parental Liability for Injuries a Child Causes Unintentionally
When a child hurts someone unintentionally or negligently, though, the law is trickier. Assuming this ATV accident was just that—an unintentional accident—this would be the law that gets applied.
The general rule in Missouri is that parents cannot be held liable for their child’s negligence. Kids will be kids, and will make mistakes that adults thought impossible. Holding parents financially liable to compensate those who get hurt by those mistakes seems unfair, and would make most parents agonize.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. One of those exceptions is when a parent knows of their child’s dangerous propensities or inclinations, but nonetheless fails to keep their child from hurting someone.
For example, parents have been held financially liable in Missouri in the following situations:
- A 13-year-old boy fired a shotgun and hit a neighborhood girl, after the shooter’s parents had seen him point the gun at her, before;
- An underage student attacked, kicked, and hurt his teacher, after the boy’s parents were told of similar attacks he had committed at school.
Therefore, in the case of the ATV accident, the parents of the underage driver could be made to compensate the victim for his injuries, if it is proven that they knew their son was reckless on the ATV but did nothing to stop him.
St. Joseph Personal Injury Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
If you were hurt in an ATV or car accident that you did not cause, you deserve to be compensated. When the accident was caused by someone under the age of 18, getting that compensation can be difficult. The personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph can get it done. Contact us online or call us at (816) 875-9373.