If my son’s friend had an accident while riding our son’s motor scooter, are we responsible?

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If my son’s friend had an accident while riding our son’s motor scooter, are we responsible?

My son had his 2 battery-powered scooters at a friend’s house down the street. The friend was riding 1 of the scooters when he ran into the back of a parked truck. There was a helmet available, but my son didn’t tell the friend he should wear it. Other adults were there and didn’t say anything about helmets either. The boy in the accident hurt his head, but not seriously. Are we responsible for the accident because it was our scooter?

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It's not automatic that you are negligent, but you may be. The issue will be where you negligent or careless. Here are some factors:

1) Is the battery scooter appropriate for children of your son's age to begin with?

2) Even if the scooter may be appropriate, is it appropriate for his friend to ride one--e.g. has he ridden one before?

3) Presumably it is negligent or careless to let a child ride a scooter without a helmet--this is probably the strongest thing against you.

The action of other adults who could have intervened but did not probably doesn't matter. Basically, if everything was done right, you'd not face liability; but if there was some way in which this boy, riding one of your scooters the way he did this time, was careless or negligent, then you could face liability.


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