Children, often associated with playfulness and innocence, are not entirely harmless. Whether by mistake, owing to lack of adult supervision or poor behavior, they can hurt other people. However, minors seldom face legal action because of their immaturity and inability to pay for damages. If a child was responsible for your injuries, you should know that recovering compensation is possible.
Was it an accident or did they want to hurt you?
Whether your injuries resulted from the child’s negligence or willful actions could influence your ability to file a lawsuit successfully.
If a child did not mean to cause you harm, seeking compensation might be challenging. Most courts assume that those under the age of seven are incapable of negligence.
In contrast, older children may show more understanding of the results of their actions. If a minor’s negligence results in the injury or death of another person, such as in teenage driving accidents, the victim may hold the parents responsible.
Of course, children can act maliciously, too. They may exhibit bad behavior they’ve learned from media, their peers or out of exposure to violence and abuse. If the child hurt you intentionally, you might be able to pursue legal action against their parents.
Parental liability in Massachusetts
Parents have a legal duty to look after their underage children. In Massachusetts, parents can be civilly liable for children ages seven to 17 whose malicious acts cause the injury or death of another person or damage someone else’s property.
There are a few limitations. Only the parents with custody of the child can be liable, and the recoverable amount cannot exceed $5,000.
Many people are discouraged from initiating personal injury cases involving minors because of the numerous obstacles involved. However, you may want to pursue legal action if your damages are substantial. Given the unique complications, consider speaking to a lawyer about your situation.