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Q: california or federal law requiring the parent to pay for damage by a minor. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: california or federal law requiring the parent to pay for damage by a minor.
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: danceglider-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 12 Oct 2002 18:09 PDT
Expires: 11 Nov 2002 17:09 PST
Question ID: 75878
My daughter lets another minor (not my child) borrow my car and she
drives it. Causes an accident. Damages my car and the other guys car.
My insurance company has covered the repair costs.  Is the minor's
parent responsible for reimbursing me for the deductible and rental
car costs?

If so, is there a california law which backs up or covers this area?

I am aware that I need to take them to small claims court to recover
the expenses.

I wanted to find some legal precendence to assist me in this case.

The parent of the other child says that his insurance company told him
"that is why we have insurance.  Too bad that the owner of the car had
to pay out the $1500 in deductibles and rental car costs".
Subject: Re: california or federal law requiring the parent to pay for damage by a minor.
Answered By: weisstho-ga on 12 Oct 2002 20:46 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello, Danceglider,

Thanks for visiting us.  The answer to your question appears to be
“YES”, California does indeed permit imputing liability to the parent
when the child of that parent engages in negligent (tortuous) conduct.

The provision you are seeking is found in Sections 1714 and 1714.1(a)
of the California Civil Code.  Please allow me to summarize the

1714.  (a) Every one is responsible, not only for the result of his
willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his want
of ordinary care or skill in the management of his property or person
. . . .

1714.1.  (a) Any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in
injury . . . to the property of another shall be imputed to the parent
or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes
of civil damages, and the parent or guardian having custody and
control shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any
damages resulting from the willful misconduct.  Subject to the
provisions of subdivision (c), the joint and several liability of the
parent or guardian having custody and control of a minor under this
subdivision shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000)
for each tort of the minor . . . . .

(b) [not applicable – pertains to defacement of property with paint] 

(c) The amounts listed in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall be
adjusted every two years by the Judicial Council. . . . 

(d) The maximum liability imposed by this section is the maximum
liability authorized under this section at the time that the act of
willful misconduct by a minor was committed.

(e) Nothing in this section shall impose liability on an insurer for a
loss caused by the willful act of the insured for purposes of Section
533 of the Insurance Code.  An insurer shall not be liable for the
conduct imputed to a parent or guardian by this section for any amount
in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).


If you desire any clarification, please click the “clarification”
button and ask away!

Good luck in small claims court!  I would suggest that you prepare a
copy of the civil code section for the judge, outline your
presentation, take a deep breath and follow the judge’s lead and
instruction.  Make your presentation, permit the other side to
respond, and always ask the judge if you may proceed.  Speak ONLY to
the judge and not to the party opposite. You’ll do fine and be in an
excellent position to receive the judgment that you are seeking.

Best regards, and best of luck!


“parental responsibility” and California
“California Civil Code”

Clarification of Answer by weisstho-ga on 12 Oct 2002 21:39 PDT
BTW, danceglider, there is no federal law pertaining to your issue. 
From your facts there would not appear to be federal jurisdiction in
any case.

Sorry the answer appears a bit "scrunched" - when I formatted the
answer it was a lot more spread out than it appears now.   :-/

danceglider-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Asked and properly answerwed

Subject: Re: california or federal law requiring the parent to pay for damage by a minor.
From: bobthedispatcher-ga on 12 Oct 2002 19:56 PDT
This is NOT legal advice - I am NOT a lawyer -
  The fact that your daughter, who you gave access to the car
       gave her permission to the friend may make it very difficult to collect
           the entire amount, if any at all.
  She might be considered at least partialy responsible herself.
Again: This is NOT legal advice - just an observation

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