what can be done if an 8 year old kid falls off a bike and scratch a neighbors vehicle?

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what can be done if an 8 year old kid falls off a bike and scratch a neighbors vehicle?

My son was riding his bike and fell off scratching a neighbors truck. The neighbor came to my house telling my wife about the accident. What are we liable for under Texas law?

Asked on April 21, 2016 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may or may not be liable for the cost to repair, repaint, touch up, etc. the scratch. It depends on whether you and/or your child could be considered to have been negligent, which is *unreasonably* careless. Your or he might be negligent if--
* He was just learning to ride, and you did not have him on training wheels and were not holding onto the bike--that is unreasonably careless, because it creates a higher probabilty of injury or damage to another's property, if you are letting him learn without support on a public street. 
* He was riding in the neighbor's driveway when he wasn't actually visiting someone (e.g. the neighbor's child) there--that is unreasonable, because he shouldn't have been there.
* He was doing some "stunt" like riding without his hands, when he lost control.
On the other hand, if your son is a decent rider and just happened to lose control when he wasn't doing anything dangerous or silly, and he was in some place (e.g. on a public road) it was reasonable for him to be, that would not be negligent, and you should not be liable. 
So you obligation to repay depends on the situation, and whether your son or you were being unreasonably dangerous in some way or not, or he was rising someplace he shouldn't or not.


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