Is it possible to sue a minor for damages?

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Is it possible to sue a minor for damages?

About 11 months ago, my car was damaged when a kid skateboarded over the yellow line into the street and my passenger-side mirror struck him. He sustained minor injuries, and stated in front of several witnesses that he was at fault. I could not swerve to avoid him without hitting another car headon in the opposite lane. My insurer has denied his family’s counterclaim for injuries, citing the fact that he was the proximal cause of the incident more than 50% at fault. However, the deductible amount of $400 was too small for them to attempt to recover. I am disabled and on a fixed income. I desperately need to recoup that money from the guilty party.

Asked on October 22, 2016 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You do not sue the minor, but you *can* sue his parents/legal guardians: the legal guardian(s) of a minor are liable, or responsible, for the damage the minor causes, if the minor was at fault (e.g. negligent or careless) in causing it.
Economically, it's not worth hiring an attorney to even help prepare a letter or this case for you. To use myself as an example (not that I am licensed to practice in Georgia, anyway): I charge less than most attorneys, but I'd still have to charge someone at least $150 upfront (which you'd pay whether or not you ever get any money back) just for a letter and helping you prep the case, and many lawyers would charge more.
Contact the family--send them a letter sent some way you prove delivery stating, without rancor or anger, that since their son skated into your car and damaged it, you incurred an out-of-pocket cost of $400 for the repairs. Ask them to pay, and state that while you do not want to sue, if you are not compensated for the loss, you may have to file a small claims case to recover the money.
Given them some time, maybe 20 - 30 days, to respond. If they don't, then file a small claims suit as your own attorney ("pro se"): you can get instructions and forms from the small claims court.


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