A friend of my son drove my son’s rider lawn mower into the side of my car and caused 833.00 worth of damage. Is the boys mother responsible for damage?

A friend showed up to play with my son . They were out in the yard and the other boy drove my sons rider mowerblades removed into the side of my car causing 833.00 damage. Mother of boy claims she is not responsible for damage and said i was responsible for the boy as he was on my property. I did not give permission for the boy to be on the property, I looked out the door and he was here. He never asks permission, just gets dropped off to play. I heard the crash and saw the damage. Mother claims its a dangerous toy and i ‘let’ him ride it. She claims I was responsible and she claims she is not responsible for any damage to my car. The boy told his mother that my son coerced him into riding the mower which is absolutely not true. Now I have major damage to my car. Who is responsible for the damage? Thank you.

Asked on June 8, 2016 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in this case, you may well be responsible: the boy was allowed on yor property since he was playing with you son, has played with your son before, and you have not taken steps to exclude or bar him. You and/or your son, a person under your control and for whose actions you are responsible, left a riding lawnmower where it was accessible to children. Your son was evidently present at least when this occured and so clearly played a role in at least allowing the conduct--and possibly encouraging it or contributing to it. You were not superising the children on your property. Under the facts of leaving a riding lawnmower out, not supervising children, and your son also being there, it is very unlikely that a court would find the other boy or his mother liable, but would more likely conclude that this damage was your resonsibility.


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