Am I liable for damage?

My 11 year old son hit a parked car car parked in the driveway while riding a moped on the sidewalk. The vehicle owner is refusing to file an insurance claim. Am I liable for the damage if I refuse to pay? The moped did not belong to my son. If the vehicle owner goes to small claims, how much can they sue for?

Asked on August 25, 2018 under Accident Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Actually, you are legally iable for this accident. When a minor causes an accident then their parents or legal guardian bears finacial responsibility for all damages incurred as a result. And here, there is no question that your son caused the accident by driving his moped carelessly since under the law it is negligent for someone to hit a parked vehicle.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are liable.
1) An at-fault driver is liable for damage he does if he was driving negligently, or carelessly.
2) By definition, it is considered careless to hit a stationary (parked) object or vehicle.
3) When the at-driver driver is a minor, his parent/legal guardian is liable for his damage.
So you are responsible for the damage your son did. The other person can sue for the repair costs and related out-of-pocket costs (like towing, if applicable, or renting a replacement cost while his is in the shop).

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