Recently, two teenage girls, 16 and 17 years of age, stole a car and were driving around in it when they struck a pole on DeZavala Road, near Lockhill Selma Road. One of the girls became trapped in the car and had to be rescued by firefighters, and both girls were taken to a nearby hospital with “serious but non-life-threatening” injuries. While no other people were allegedly injured by the girls’ actions, this is often not the case when minors cause auto accidents, and both they and their parents can sometimes be on the hook for serious damages. If your child has caused a vehicle accident in Texas, you need to be aware of your position immediately, so you can protect yourself and your child as best you can.
While most parents do their best to prepare their kids for the so-called ‘real world,’ there are some things that come as a surprise even to them. One of those realities, for many people, is that parents can be held civilly liable for the actions of their children in many circumstances. Texas law specifically illustrates two: if the child is between the ages of 10 and 18, and their actions were “willful and malicious”; or if the courts can reasonably attribute the child’s “negligent” conduct to a “negligent failure” on the parent or guardian’s part. For example, if a parent knows that their child is prone to texting and driving, it might be considered a “negligent failure” to allow them to drive while still in possession of their cellphone.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that Texas’ parental liability statute only pertains to incidents of property damage - not to cases involving personal injury. The parents of the girls who hit the pole on DeZavala Road will likely be held liable for their daughters’ actions in causing damage to the car and the pole. However, if the girls’ actions had injured anyone else, the injured person would have to file a lawsuit in order to have a chance at recovery of their damages....