How to determine liability for an accident?

My 14 year old daugher recently attended a birthday party that was held at a 3rd parties residence. At the birthday party the kids (all 14-15 years old) were to be riding 4-wheelers, mules, etc. Then 4 kids were given the keys to the various 4-wheeled vehicles because they were well acquainted with the machines as well as the terrain; however none of the adults present were keeping a close eye on the kids to ensure that the ones originally given the keys were indeed the ones driving the machines. My daughter (who was not originally given a key) wrecked one of the vehivles when she was driving causing approximately $1K damage. Who is responsible to pay for the damages – my daughter, the landowner, the party host or a combination of all 3?

Asked on December 5, 2012 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The landowner, from what you write is not liable or responsible--it does not appear that he or she did anything wrong, and liability generally depends on fault, which is usually in the form of negligence, or carelessness. Most likely your daughter (which means you, since she is a minor) and the party host will share responsibility, since they were both negligent: your daughter seems to have driven negligently, while the host does not appear to have been supervising or monitoring the minor children properly.

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