Parental liability is an important public policy consideration in Ohio. The parents of minor children are subject to liability for the acts of their children in a number of circumstances. In this article, we’ll discuss why the parent may be liable for acts involving property damage, theft, and motor vehicles.
Parental liability laws
Parents can be held liable for up to $15,000.00 when their children commit acts of vandalism, desecration, or ethnic intimidation per Ohio Revised Code 2307.70. They can be liable for up to $10,000.00 when their children willfully damage property, commit theft offenses involving an owner’s property, or willfully and maliciously assault someone per Ohio Revised Code 3109.09 and .10. If the parents co-signed the minor’s license or temporary license per Ohio Revised Code 4507.07, they can also be liable for the negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of their children while the children are driving motor vehicles. But it may not always be immediately clear who a child’s parent is under the liability statutes.
Which parent is liable
In these cases, “parent” generally means both parents. However, there are two situations where this is not the case. First, if one parent has been designated the residential parent and legal custodian and there is no shared parenting order, that parent is liable under the law. Second, if one parent is the custodial parent of a child who was born out of wedlock and no custody order has been issued, that parent is liable under the law.
These codes serve as the basis for the majority of claims of imputed liability against parents, which is why they are a helpful tool in recovering for losses caused by children. Contact one of our subrogation attorneys to discuss your parental liability file.