What would happen if your 12 year old child accidentally kills another child while driving a golf cart in the neighborhood?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2011

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What would happen if your 12 year old child accidentally kills another child while driving a golf cart in the neighborhood?

I’m a legal resident in TX and originally from Colombia (all family members are). My son’s best friend and his family allow the kids to freely drive their golf carts, 4 wheelers, etc. either in our neighborhood or his weekend river property. I struggle to make them understand that a 12 year old should not be driving either one, and much less in the neighborhood; or being a passenger on one if an adult is not the driver and have security devices properly used for the ride.

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Personal Injury, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You have touched upon pretty much something we lawyers must deal with in the theoretical (law school exams and bar examinations) but also for those who handle criminal law and minors, in the real world. If a 12 year old boy (who can appreciate the potential consequences of his actions) causes an accident and kills either a child or adult while driving a motorized vehicle, then there are and would be criminal consequences and civil consequences for the child and his parents. If the child is legally allowed to drive such a golf cart, the issue turns to whether he was doing so negligently and whether his actions could amount to manslaughter or murder in the second degree, again all based on the facts known to the parties and court. If this was purely an accident (not caused by the child) there would be no issue. As to the civil penalty component, even if the criminal court judge does not award restitution, the family could sue the child and his parents in a wrongful death claim for damages. To get the point home, contact your state bar and local bar associations that can point you to possible copies of case law and brochures and maybe arrange for an attorney to come by to teach the kids and parents what consequences could happen.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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