Civil Parental Liability
In Indiana, a parent is liable for the actions of their child if those actions are done knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly and cause harm to a person or their property. To be liable, however, the parent must have custody of the child and the child must be living with the parent. The limit of a parent’s liability is $5,000 (see I.C. 34-31-4-1).
The purpose of this statute is to protect innocent victims from damages by irresponsible minors.
How Long Am I Liable for My Child’s Actions?
A parent will only typically have liability for their minor child until the child reaches the age of majority, 18.
What Happens If My Child Injures Someone or Something?
You may have insurance coverage if your child injures someone or something. Typically, both homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance provide coverage for both property damage and liability coverage.
These insurance policies usually cover damage that someone suffers while on your property, even if the injury was committed by another household. Therefore, if your child injures someone or something, always check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage.
What If My Minor Child Drives My Car?
Pursuant to I.C. 9-24-9-4, an individual who signs an application for a permit or driver’s license agrees to be responsible jointly and severally with the minor applicant for any injury or damage that the minor applicant causes by reason of the operation of a motor vehicle if the minor applicant is liable in damages.
When a minor turns 18, however, the individual who signed the minor’s application is relieved from the liability imposed under this chapter and subsequently incurred by the applicant operating a motor vehicle.
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