Legal Guide

Can a Child Be Sued for Personal Injury in the Bronx?

Children are not always perfect angels. It seems to be a right of passage for kids to get into some sort of trouble before they hit adulthood. Unfortunately, some kids cause more trouble than others, and people sometimes get hurt. If you were hurt because of a child’s negligent or intentional actions, you can take legal action against them as if they were adults. However, children are afforded certain rights and protections by the legal system.

When you sue a child for personal injuries, you can begin the case like you would a case against an adult. Talk to a lawyer, figure out damages, collect evidence, draft a complaint, and file the lawsuit against the defendant. However, when suing a child, you might also want to consider how their parents or guardians play a role. Sometimes, parents are liable if they negligently allow their child to do something dangerous that they knew or should have known might get someone hurt. Minors are also held to different standards in court. In short, kids are not expected to have the wisdom and critical thinking skills of adults. They might not be liable if a reasonable child in the same situation would have made the same choices.

Suing a Child for Personal Injuries in the Bronx

Even minors may be held liable if they cause accidents and injuries. If a child injured you in an accident or on purpose, you can sue them like you would any adult. While lawsuits against children tend to proceed according to the same rules as cases involving adults, a Bronx personal injury attorney may want to advise you of certain legal hurdles you might come up against.

Although you can sue a minor for injuries, the odds of success might not be the same as if the defendant were an adult. Juries often enter the courtroom assuming that a child is not as capable of harm as adults. They might be predisposed to finding the child not liable. As such, you might need to work harder, present more evidence, and present more convincing arguments to sway the jury to your side.

On top of that, you have to be mindful of how you present yourself. The jury might think the defendant is a kid who made a mistake, and you are a vindictive adult trying to ruin some poor kid’s life. How you present yourself will influence the jury, and you want to make sure they see you as an injured victim, not some child-hating curmudgeon.

When Parents Might be Liable for Injuries Caused by a Child in the Bronx

A big question in lawsuits against children is, “Where are the parents?” People sometimes mistakenly assume that anything a child does wrong becomes the legal responsibility of the parents. This is not true, at least not in every case.

A child’s parents or guardians might be liable for injuries caused by the child when the parents’ negligence played a role in causing injuries. For example, suppose you were injured in a car accident with a minor. Next, suppose the child was too young to have a license, but the parents allowed the child to drive anyway. In that case, the parents may be held liable for negligently allowing the child to do something they knew or reasonably should have known was likely to cause injury.

What Are Minors’ Rights in Personal Injury Lawsuits in the Bronx

Minors largely have the same rights as adult defendants. Personal injury claims are not heard in criminal courts, and no civil juvenile justice system exists. Children may be sued in much the same way as adults. Even so, minors might be treated differently than adult defendants when determining liability.

Minors are not held to the same standards as adults. Generally, it is believed that the average, reasonable adult should have known better. The actions of adult defendants may be weighed against this standard. Children are different. In many circumstances, children are not expected to act in the same manner as adults and are not always expected to know better. As such, it might seem as though courts are more lenient with minor defendants. In reality, kids are judged based on what a reasonable child would have or should have done in the same situation.

Remember, this is not exactly a hard rule enshrined in codes or statutes. It is a legal principle that comes from age-old common law.

At a certain age, minors might not be responsible for their actions. Again, there is no hard cut-off or age limit within some statute or law. The younger the defendant, the harder it might be to win a personal injury claim. For example, a claim against a 16-year-old for causing a car accident would be easier to win than a case against a 6-year-old for the same thing.

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