What will happen now that my child hit someone’s car with a shopping cart?

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What will happen now that my child hit someone’s car with a shopping cart?

I pulled up to a store and my 4 year old son got out with his 13 year old brother to stand on the sidewalk and wait for me while I got my 1 year old out of the car. When I was walking up to the sidewalk to join my boys I saw my 4 year old in the middle of the parking lot watching a shopping cart roll down the hill out of the parking lot and into traffic Of course I freaked out and asked what happened and he told me it had just rolled away on its own and his brother backed up his story. So we made our way into the store and about 10 minutes later we were ready to pay and I noticed a man asking for the store manager because one of their shopping carts had rolled out of the parking lot and caused significant damage to his car. When I left the store my 13 year old son told me the truth, which was that his little brother noticed the shopping cart on

the edge of the sidewalk and it was starting to roll by itself according to him but who knows if this is true but that my son gave it a little push with his feet and that’s when it rolled away. I am beyond horrified right now and I don’t know what to expect. Will the police come after me? Of course this man was accusing the store for what happened to his car so will they go over the video tape and see it was my son that pushed it and also see my vehicle tags and track me down? I wonder if I should be looking for a defense lawyer right now?

Asked on July 20, 2016 under Accident Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You only need an attorney if you are sued (or at least threatened with a suit) or if the police contact you. Based on what you write, it does not appear that you would face criminal liability, even if the police do investigate, because there does not appear to be any criminal intent (e.g. a knowing attenpt to cause damage). However, because you could be held to have been negligent, or careless, in how you supervised your children, you could be civilly liable; that is, you could be responsible for the costs, etc. of any injuries or damage thereby done.


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