Are Parents Liable For Their Children’s Misconduct?
Parents will not be held liable for every act of misconduct by their children. Liability depends on the type of misconduct. Arizona imposes responsibility on parents if the child’s misconduct is “malicious” or “willful.” Malicious and willful refer to intentional acts. Generally, a child will engage in an intentional act if without justification or excuse, and with full knowledge of the specific consequences of his conduct, acts notwithstanding, knowing full well that his conduct will cause particularized injury. In short, the child has to commit some kind of crime that was planned in advance.
Doctrine Of Parental Neglect
The doctrine of parental neglect allows a victim to sue a child’s parents if two elements are satisfied – the parent knows or should know that (1) there is a need to control the child to prevent harm to another person and (2) they are in a position to control their child to prevent harm. Moreover, the injury must be the direct result of the parent’s lack of supervision or control and it must be reasonably foreseeable from the parents’ point of view.
So, in Arizona, parents can be held liable for their child’s misconduct regardless of whether or not they were aware of their child’s bad tendencies. Liability can be found where the child’s conduct was malicious or where the parents knew of their child’s bad tendencies and failed to control them.
How Much Responsibility Will Parents Be Liable For?
Arizona limits a parent’s financial liability to $10,000. Under certain circumstances, liability could exceed the $10,000 limit. The $10,000 limit is the maximum that may be AUTMOTAICALLY imposed. For example, if a child has a history of malicious behavior, it is possible to hold the parents liable for the full amount of injuries and other damages caused by the damages, which exceed the $10,000 maximum.
Both parents will be held responsible, which means that a parent can be sued for the remaining balance owed for the judgment of damages, if the other parent fails to pay their share.
Can Parents Be Held Criminally Responsible?
In Arizona, parents can be held criminally responsible for engaging in behavior that contributes to the delinquency of a minor. Arizona defines delinquency as any act that tends to debase or injure the morals, health, or welfare of a child. For example, parents can face criminal charges for buying their children alcohol, drugs, or firearms.