As children grow and mature, they are trusted with greater levels of responsibility. One of the major milestones every parent experiences is the day their child turns 16 years old and is able to drive on their own. While the children may be excited at the prospect of increased freedom and exploration that driving allows, for many parents this excitement is replaced with stress over the risks of personal injury that surround newly licensed drivers.
Parents may not know that they are responsible for the actions of their child when they act with willful misconduct behind the wheel. If their child’s negligent behavior causes someone to suffer personal injury, the parents may be financially liable for damages the victim incurs. Read on for more information about what Nevada residents should know about parental responsibility laws in their state.
Parental Responsibility in Nevada
Under Nevada state law, a parent is responsible for any “willful misconduct” carried out by their children so long as they are under 18 years of age when the misconduct results in personal injury or death to someone else. Parents are also responsible for misconduct that results in damages to another person’s private property and/or publicly owned property such as parks or municipal buildings.
One major exception to Nevada’s parental responsibility laws is foster homes. Individuals who maintain a foster home are not liable for the actions of minors under their supervision, as long as the foster parents did not take any action that contributed to the willful misconduct of the child (e.g. purchasing a weapon for the child to use).
Willful Misconduct Defined
Nevada state law defines willful misconduct as intentional wrongdoing with the knowledge that serious injury would likely result, or with a reckless abandon for the results of their actions. An important aspect of the law is that a minor does not have to intend to cause personal injury. They only need to know and understand that their actions were negligent and potentially harmful for the law to consider those actions as willful misconduct.
Defining Joint and Several Parental Liability
Nevada law indicates that a child can be held liable for all damages and personal injury that their own willful misconduct causes. However, the courts also recognize that most children do not have any kind of significant wealth or assets that courts can seize as compensation for damages caused by their actions.
Therefore, the law allows victims the opportunity to recover compensation by making the child’s parents jointly and severally liable for the personal injuries incurred by victims. This means that parents will likely be on the hook for any damages the court determines the victim is owed. However, unless the parent acted in a way that clearly contributed to the child’s willful misconduct, the amount of damages the parents will be liable for will be capped at $10,000.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a minor’s willful misconduct, it can be a frustrating and confusing ordeal. For years, the attorneys at H&P Law have been helping accident victims in Las Vegas and Nevada as they fight for their right to fair compensation for damages. Contact H&P Law today to get experienced insight into your unique case.