What rights does child with special needs have regarding liability for a personal injury?

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What rights does child with special needs have regarding liability for a personal injury?

Special needs child was provoked by another child and special needs child bit other child. Now being sued for medical bills.

Asked on November 13, 2011 under Personal Injury, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The special needs child's family could be liable, as could a school or  other institution which then was exercising supervision over the child. The fact that a child is special needs and may have cognitive or  emotional issues, or possibly difficulty with impulse control, does not allow him or her--or his or her family, guardians, or caregivers--to escape liabilit for his or her acts, since that  would be allowing the special needs individual a license to hurt others. Rather, if someone is special needs, then those reponsible for that person must take care in how they supervise him or her to prevent attacks upon or injuries to others--at least if the child's issues present a theat. If the child's special needs have no control, etc. component (e.g. profound reading difficulty, but no other cognitive or emotional issues; or some physical disability, but no cognitive or emotional issues), then he or she would be judged by the standards as any other child.

Short answer: the family and/or other caregives of a child are responsible for that child's actions and injuries to others. The same rule holds for special needs children, since they should have taken appropriate measures to safeguard others.


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