Parental Responsibility Statutes by State
For All 50 States & DC

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 Parental responsibility statute chart

 

Your tenantís 17 year old son is learning to drive and just collided with the garage door.  Is your tenant liable for the damage?  In what amount?  Your 10 year old daughter just broke a window in an adjoining apartment while playing with her friend.  Are you responsible to fix it?  These questions are dealt with, at least in part, by your stateís parental responsibility laws.  This chart maps the major provisions of the parental responsibility laws in each of the states and the District of Columbia.  It will give you a start to making a decision to write a check now or taking your chances in small claims court.  It may also prompt you to consult a lawyer if the damages have run into real money.

 

Unless otherwise noted, parental (including a guardian) responsibility extends to the acts of an unemancipated minor under age of 18 years.  This chart links to statutory provisions dealing explicitly with parental responsibility.  Because your state does not have a statute dealing with liability for a specific act does not mean that liability does not exist based on other theories.  Be sure to follow the links and read the statute.  A summary contains the major points of the statute, but not all issues are decided only on the major points.  That is why we provide the links.

 

 

State

Auto

Property Damage

Personal Injury

Miscellaneous

Alabama

None

Intentional, willful, or malicious acts of minor in parentís custody not to exceed $1000.  Ala. Code Sec. 6-5-380

None

 

Alaska

None

Knowing or intentional act by minor not to exceed $15,000 or insurance policy limits not to exceed $25,000.  Alaska Statutes Sec. 09.65.255

None

 

Arizona

None

Willful or malicious acts of minor, limit $10,000.  Ariz. Rev. Stats. Sec. 12-661

Willful or malicious acts of minor, limit $10,000.  Ariz. Rev. Stats. Sec. 12-661

Includes shoplifting

Arkansas

None

Willful or malicious destruction not to exceed $5000.  Arkansas Code Sec. 09-25-102

None

 

California

Unlimited civil liability for minorís operation of motor vehicle.  Veh. Code Sec. 17108

Willful misconduct resulting in property damage, not to exceed $25,000, $10,000 for parentís insurance.  Civ. Code Sec. 1714.1

Willful misconduct resulting in personal injury limited to damage for medical expenses, not to exceed $25,000, $10,000 for parentís insurance.  Civ. Code Sec. 1714.1

Injury or property damage caused by firearm provided or made available by parent, limit to $30,000 for one person, $60,000 aggregate per incident.  Civ. Code Sec. 1714.3

Colorado

None

Willful damage to property or personal injury not to exceed $3500.  Col. Rev. Stats. Sec. 13-21-107

Willful damage to property or personal injury not to exceed $3500.  Col. Rev. Stats. Sec. 13-21-107

Shoplifting, limited to $250.  Col Rev. Stats. Sec. 13-21-107.5

Connecticut

Any damage to motor vehicle taken without consent of owner.  Connecticut General Stats. Sec. 52-572

Willful or malicious damage to property.  Connecticut General Stats. Sec. 52-572

Willful or malicious damage to person.  Connecticut General Stats. Sec. 52-572

 

Delaware

Damage or personal injury caused by minorís negligent operation of motor vehicle.  Liability unlimited.  21 Delaware Code Sec. 6104

Reckless or intentional damage to property.  Limit $5000.  10 Delaware Code Sec. 3922

None

 

District of Columbia

None

None

None

 

Florida

Parent or guardian who signs minorís application for license liable for personal or property damage caused by willful or negligent misconduct.  Unlimited liability.  Florida Stats. Sec. 322.09

Willful or malicious destruction of property.  Unlimited liability.  Florida Stats. Sec. 741.24

None

 

Georgia

None

Willful or malicious damage to property not to exceed $10,000.  Georgia Code Sec. 51-2-3

None

Parent liable for act done at parentís command or within scope of parentís business.  Unlimited liability.  Georgia Code Sec. 51-2-2

Hawaii

Parent who signs license application liable for negligence or other misconduct.  Unlimited liability.  Hawaii Rev. Stats. Sec. 286-112

Joint and several unlimited liability for all tortuous acts of child.  Hawaii Rev. Stats. Sec. 577-3

Joint and several unlimited liability for all tortuous acts of child.  Hawaii Rev. Stats. Sec. 577-3

Joint liability for property damage due to graffiti.  Unlimited liability.  Hawaii Rev. Stats. Sec. 577-3.5

Idaho

None

Willful damage to real or personal property not to exceed $2500.  Idaho Stats. Sec. 6-210

None

 

Illinois

 

Willful or malicious acts not to exceed $20,000 per person, $30,000 aggregate.  Illinois Compiled Stats. Sec. 740 ILCS 115/1 et seq.  Also liable for willful damage to church, school, mosque, etc. up to same limit if imposed by judge in criminal proceeding.  Illinois Compiled Stats. Sec. 720 ILCS 5/21-1.2

Willful or malicious acts not to exceed $20,000 per person, $30,000 aggregate.  Illinois Compiled Stats. Sec. 740 ILCS 115/1 et seq.

Shoplifting liability for full restitution plus damages from $100 to $1000, not to exceed $20,000.  Illinois Compiled Statutes Sec. 720 ILCS 5/16A-7

Indiana

Parent who signs childís license application liable for all damage caused by minorís operation of vehicle.  Indiana Code Sec. 09-24-9-4

Custodial parent liability limited to $5000.  Indiana Code Sec. 34-31-4-1

Custodial parent liability limited to $5000.  Indiana Code Sec. 34-31-4-1

Parent who fails to take reasonable steps to prevent his childís gang activity liable for all damage caused.  Indiana Code Sec. 34-31-4-2

Iowa

None

Liability up to $2000 for one act or $5000 for multiple acts against same person.  Iowa Code Sec. 613.16

Liability up to $2000 for one act or $5000 for multiple acts against same person.  Iowa Code Sec. 613.16

 

Kansas

None

Liability up to $5000, but unlimited if due to parental neglect.  Kansas Statutes Sec. 38-120

Liability up to $5000, but unlimited if due to parental neglect.  Kansas Statutes Sec. 38-120

 

Kentucky

Parent who signs license application, or person who entrusts vehicle liable for minorís negligence.  No limit.  Kentucky Revised Statutes Sec. 186.590

Graffiti or willful damage, not to exceed $2500 per occurrence and $10,000 in aggregate.  Kentucky Statutes Sec. 408.025

None

 

Louisiana

Unlimited liability of parents for acts of unemancipated minor residing with them or placed by them with others, with recourse.  Louisiana Statutes Civ. Code Art. 2318

Unlimited liability of parents for acts of unemancipated minor residing with them or placed by them with others, with recourse.  Louisiana Statutes Civ. Code Art. 2318

Unlimited liability of parents for acts of unemancipated minor residing with them or placed by them with others, with recourse.  Louisiana Statutes Civ. Code Art. 2318

 

Maine

None

If minor who is between 7 and 17 years of age willfully or maliciously causes damage to property or injury to a person and the minor would have been liable for the damage or injury if the minor were an adult and the minor lives with that minor's parents or legal guardians, the parents or legal guardians are jointly and severally liable with the minor for that damage or injury in an amount not exceeding $800  Maine Rev. Statutes Civil Procedure Sec. 304

If minor who is between 7 and 17 years of age willfully or maliciously causes damage to property or injury to a person and the minor would have been liable for the damage or injury if the minor were an adult and the minor lives with that minor's parents or legal guardians, the parents or legal guardians are jointly and severally liable with the minor for that damage or injury in an amount not exceeding $800  Maine Rev. Statutes Civil Procedure Sec. 304

 

Maryland

None

Parents liable to pay up to $10,000 restitution for damages resulting from criminal acts of child.  Maryland Code, Criminal Procedures, Sec. 11-604

Parents liable to pay up to $10,000 restitution for damages resulting from criminal acts of child.  Maryland Code, Criminal Procedures, Sec. 11-604

 

Massachusetts

None

Liability up to $5000 for willful act of unemancipated minor between 7 and 18 years.  Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 231 Sec. 85G

Liability up to $5000 for willful act of unemancipated minor between 7 and 18 years.  Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 231 Sec. 85G

Includes larceny

Michigan

none

Up to $5000 liability for minorís willful or malicious destruction of property.  Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 600.2913

Up to $5000 liability for minorís willful or malicious injury of a person.  Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 600.2913

 

Minnesota

 

Joint liability with minor for willful or malicious injury to property up to $1000.  Minnesota Statutes Sec. 540.18

Joint liability with minor for willful or malicious injury to person up to $1000.  Minnesota Statutes Sec. 540.18

Joint liability for race, sex, religious, etc., motivated crime up to $5000.  Minnesota Statutes Sec. 611A.79

Mississippi

Unlimited liability for minorís negligent or willful misconduct.  Mississippi Code Sec. 63-1-25

Liability up to $5000 for malicious or willful acts of minor 10 to 18 years.  Mississippi Code Sec. 93-13-2

none

Liability between $200 to $500 for willful or malicious damage to street traffic signs, railroad signals, etc.  Mississippi Code Sec. 97-15-1

Missouri

None

Liability up to $2000 for purposely causing damage to property.  Missouri Statutes Sec. 537.045

Liability up to $2000 for purposely causing damage to person.  Missouri Statutes Sec. 537.045

 

Montana

None

Liability up to $2500 for willful or malicious damage to personal or real property other than property of a profit making business.  Montana Statutes Sec. 40-6-237

None

 

Nebraska

None

Unlimited liability for damage to real or personal property.  Nebraska Statutes Sec. 43-801

Liability for medical and hospital expenses up to $1000.  Nebraska Statutes Sec. 43-801

 

Nevada

Unlimited liability for negligent, willful, or intentional misconduct.  Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 483.300

Liable up to $10,000 for any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury or death to another person or injury to the private property of another or to public property is imputed to the parents or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages.  Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 41.470

Liable up to $10,000 for any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury or death to another person or injury to the private property of another or to public property is imputed to the parents or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages.  Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 41.470

If a parent, guardian or other person legally responsible for a minor under the age of 18 years:

      (a) Knows that the minor has previously been adjudicated delinquent or has been convicted of a criminal offense;

      (b) Knows that the minor has a propensity to commit violent acts; or

      (c) Knows or has reason to know that the minor intends to use the firearm for unlawful purposes,

  and permits the minor to use or possess a firearm, any negligence or willful misconduct of the minor in connection with such use or possession is imputed to the person who permits such use or possession for all purposes of civil damages, and, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 2 of NRS 41.470, that person is jointly and severally liable with the minor for any and all damages caused by such negligence or willful misconduct.  Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. 41.470

New Hampshire

none

Unlimited liability against parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a minor who fails or neglects to exercise reasonable supervision and control of the vandalism of such minor.  New Hampshire Revised Statutes Sec. 507:8-e

none

 

New Jersey

none

Parents of any minor who shall maliciously or willfully injure any property of a railroad, street railway, traction railway or autobus public utility shall be liable for damages in the amount of the injury to a limit of $5,000.  New Jersey Statutes Sec. 2A:53A-16.  Parents or guardian of any minor who shall injure any public or nonpublic school property are liable for damages for the amount of injury.  New Hersey Statutes Sec. 18A:37-3

none

 

New Mexico

Unlimited liability of parent who signs license application.  New Mexico Statutes Sec. 66-5-11

Custodial parent liability for willful or malicious acts of child.  New Mexico Statutes Sec. 32A-2-27

Custodial parent liability for willful or malicious acts of child.  New Mexico Statutes Sec. 32A-2-27

 

New York

None

Liability up to $5000 if minor age 10 thru 18 willfully, maliciously, or illegally damages property.  Law of New York, General Obligations, Sec. 3-112

None

Also includes liability for placing a false bomb, burglary, or theft.

North Carolina

None

Liability up to $2000 on parents of any minor who shall maliciously or willfully injure a person or destroy real or personal property.  N. Carolina Gen. Statutes Sec. 1-538.1

Liability up to $2000 on parents of any minor who shall maliciously or willfully injure a person or destroy real or personal property.  N. Carolina Gen. Statutes Sec. 1-538.1

 

North Dakota

Negligence of minor imputed to person who signs license application (including parents).  No limit.  North Dakota Century Code Sec. 39-06-09

Liability up to $1000 for willful or malicious injury to property.  North Dakota Century Code Sec. 32-03-39

None

 

Ohio

Negligence of minor imputed to person who signs license application (including parents).  No limit. Ohio Revised Code Sec. 4507.07

Liability to $10,000 for willful acts of minor including theft.  Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3109.09

Liability to $10,000 for malicious assault.  Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3109.10

Liability to $15,000 for desecration, vandalism, etc.  Ohio Revised Code Sec. 2307.70

Oklahoma

None

None

None

Liability for vandalism to extent of diminution of value of property or retail price if property rendered unsalable.  Oklahoma Statutes Sec. 21-1731.1

Oregon

None

Liability for intentional or reckless harm to property up to $7500.  Oregon Revised Statutes Sec. 30.765

Liability for intentional or reckless harm to person up to $7500.  Oregon Revised Statutes Sec. 30.765

 

Pennsylvania

Liability up to $1000 per incident, $2500 aggregate for tortious acts of child.  23 Pennsylvania Code Sec. 5502 and 5505

Liability up to $1000 per incident, $2500 aggregate for tortious acts of child.  23 Pennsylvania Code Sec. 5502 and 5505

Liability up to $1000 per incident, $2500 aggregate for tortious acts of child.  23 Pennsylvania Code Sec. 5502 and 5505

 

Rhode Island

Liable up to $1500 for torts of child.  Rhode Island General Laws. Sec. 09-01-03

Liable up to $1500 for torts of child.  Rhode Island General Laws. Sec. 09-01-03

Liable up to $1500 for torts of child.  Rhode Island General Laws. Sec. 09-01-03

 

South Carolina

None

Liability up to $5000 for damage to property by a minor residing with parents.  South Carolina Code Sec. 63-5-60

None

 

South Dakota

None

Liability up to $1500 for malicious and willful acts of child.  South Dakota Codified Laws Sec. 25-5-15

None

 

Tennessee

None

Liability up to $10,000 for damage to person or property caused by willful or malicious acts of minor living with parents.  Tennessee Code Sec. 37-10-101.  No limitation if parent knows of tendency to commit such acts.  Tennessee Code Sec. 37-10-103

Liability up to $10,000 for damage to person or property caused by willful or malicious acts of minor living with parents.  Tennessee Code Sec. 37-10-101.  No limitation if parent knows of tendency to commit such acts.  Tennessee Code Sec. 37-10-103

 

Texas

Liability for acts of minor for negligence if it is attributable to parent, without limit, or willful and malicious acts of child between 10 and 18, limited to $25,000.  Texas Family Code Secs 41.001 and 41.002

Liability for acts of minor for negligence if it is attributable to parent, without limit, or willful and malicious acts of child between 10 and 18, limited to $25,000.  Texas Family Code Secs 41.001 and 41.002

Liability for acts of minor for negligence if it is attributable to parent, without limit, or willful and malicious acts of child between 10 and 18, limited to $25,000.  Texas Family Code Secs 41.001 and 41.002

 

Utah

Liability of Parent signing license applicationfor damages caused by minor.  Utah Code Sec. 53-3-211.  Limit (1) (a)  $25,000 because of liability for bodily injury to or death of one person, arising out of the use of a motor vehicle in any one accident;
       (b)  subject to the limit for one person in Subsection (1)(a), in the amount of $65,000 because of liability for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons arising out of the use of a motor vehicle in any one accident; and
       (c)  in the amount of $15,000 because of liability for injury to, or destruction of, property of others arising out of the use of a motor vehicle in any one accident; or
       (2)  $80,000 in any one accident whether arising from bodily injury to or the death of others, or from destruction of, or damage to, the property of others.  Utah Code Sec. 31A-22-304

(1)  The parent or legal guardian having legal custody of the minor is liable for damages sustained to property not to exceed $2,000 when:
       (a)  the minor intentionally damages, defaces, destroys, or takes the property of another;
       (b)  the minor recklessly or willfully shoots or propels a missile, or other object at or against a motor vehicle, bus, airplane, boat, locomotive, train, railway car, or caboose, whether moving or standing; or
       (c)  the minor intentionally and unlawfully tampers with the property of another and thereby recklessly endangers human life or recklessly causes or threatens a substantial interruption or impairment of any public utility service.
       (2)  The parent or legal guardian having legal custody of the minor is liable for damages sustained to property not to exceed $5,000 when the minor commits an offense under Section (1):
       (a)  for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang as defined in Section 76-9-802; or
       (b)  to gain recognition, acceptance, membership, or increased status with a criminal street gang.
       (3)  As used in this section, property damage described under Subsection (1)(a) or (c), or Subsection (2), includes graffiti, as defined in Section 76-6-107.  Utah Code Sec. 78A-6-1113

None

 

Vermont

None

Liability up to $5000 per child for willful or malicious damage to property.  Vermont Statutes Title 15 Section 901

Liability up to $5000 per child for willful or malicious damage to person.  Vermont Statutes Title 15 Section 901

 

Virginia

None

Liability up to $2500 for damage to public property by minor living with parents.  Virginia Statutes Sec. 8.01-43.  Same as to private property.  Sec. 8.01-44

None

 

Washington

None

Liability up to $5000 for minor living with parents who willfully or maliciously defaces or destroys property.  Revised Code of Washington Sec., 4.24.190

None

 

West Virginia

None

Liability of custodial parents for willful injury to property of another up to $5000.  West Virginia Code Sec., 55-7A-2

Liability of custodial parents for willful injury to person up to $5000.  West Virginia Code Sec., 55-7A-2

Includes arson of woodland of another and theft of property of another

Wisconsin

Parent who signs license application liable for all damage caused by willful or negligent misconduct while child driving.  Wisconsin Statutes Sec. 343.15

Liability for acts of minor child living with parents.  Limits $5000 to $20,000.  Statute too complex to summarize, read here Wisconsin Statutes Sec. 895.035

None

 

Wyoming

None

Parents of minor 10 to 17 yrs. old liable up to $2000 for childís malicious or willful destruction of property.  Wyoming Statutes Sec. 14-2-203

None

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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