15 year old Brother let friend ride dirtbike

Friend picked up my brother and loaded up my
brothers dirt bike to go riding. My brother let his
friend ride the dirt bike and the friend got
injured. Broken ribs, collapsed lung, broken
back and leg. Both parents where aware of the
outing and gave permission. Can they sue my
family since it was my brothers dirt bike?

Asked on March 6, 2017 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can potentially sue your family since not only was it your brother's dirt bike, but it could very likely be seen as negligent, or unreasonably careless, to let the friend ride--at least if there was not strong evidence that he was an already or experienced rider of dirt bikes. 
This is not to say that they will definitely win--his parents' own negligence in lettting him ride will count against them, as will his personal negligence if he was riding wildly or carelessly, or lied about his ability to ride. These factors coud possibly cause them to lose entirely, or at least reduce what they could win, by offsetting their liability vs. your family's. But as stated, they can at the least bring a lawsuit and make out a claim which you'd have to take seriously, and they could possibly, depending on the exact circumstances, win. If they do sue, retain an attorney right away; in the meantime, be careful to not say anything that could even indirectly or obliquely suggest you acknowledge fault or liability, because such could be used against you.


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