Most teenagers and young adults don’t have a lot of money of their
own because they’re busy being students; some of them don’t
have any at all. Unless a teenager has been working and saving their money
for some time, the average teen does not have a lot of “dough.”
Even if the teenager has a nice trust fund, they may not have access to
the funds until they are 21 or 25, until they graduate college, or until
they get married.
Teens and young adults may be young and inexperienced in the ways of driving
and the world, but they are as big as adults. So, with full-sized bodies
and inexperienced minds, teens, due to a simple lack of life experience,
can cause serious, if not deadly accidents.
Were you injured by a negligent minor?
Since teens can cause accidental injuries and fatalities just like adults,
many people who are hurt by teens ask us, “Can I sue the teenager’s
parents?” Like most states, South Carolina enacted a law that is
commonly referred to as the “parental responsibility law.”
Under this civil statute,
South Carolina Code Ann. Section 63-5-60, a minor’s parent or legal guardian
can be held responsible if their child’s
intentional or malicious act harmed someone else. Under Sec. 63-5-60, if the minor willfully and intentionally
injured someone else, their parents can be liable.
If a minor simply made a mistake and they caused an accident where someone
got hurt, that would not be enough to hold their parents financially liable
for any harm done. Sorry, if it was an accident, you may not be able to
sue the kid’s parents.
If a minor’s actions were willful and malicious, then all types of
claimants can sue the minor’s parents for damages, however, the
parents’ financial responsibility under the law is capped at $5,000.
In addition to the cap on damages, claimants are limited to the types of
damages they can recover. They can only recover actual damages for property
damage and medical care; they cannot recover money for non-economic damages,
such as pain and suffering.
Of course, if the minor caused a
car accident, then the injured party would simply file a claim with the appropriate
insurance company, which depending on the coverage, could be under the
teen’s name, or under the parent’s family policy.
If you were injured by a teenager in a car accident, or in a situation
where the teen was malicious and trying to cause harm,
contact our Columbia injury lawyers for advice!