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Old 05-08-2019, 03:35 AM   #1
Pass55
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Default 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

My neighbor's 10 year old child ran his bike into my car and damaged the car door.

Do I sue the child or the neighbor in small claims or what?

The parent takes no responsibility at all and says I should cover it with my insurance--"accidents happen". That's not right, is it?

I will talk to the insurer but want to have some idea where I stand legally first, if possible.
And I certainly don't want my rates going up, if that is possible!
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:37 PM   #2
adjusterjack
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Default Re: 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

What state?

State laws differ as to parental responsibility.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:43 PM   #3
Pass55
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Default Re: 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

New Jersey.
Thanks!!
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:50 PM   #4
adjusterjack
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Default Re: 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

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Originally Posted by Pass55 View Post
New Jersey.
Thanks!!
NJ Statute 2A:53A-15:

2A:53A-15. Liability of parent or guardian for willful destruction of property by infant under 18
A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of an infant under 18 years of age who fails or neglects to exercise reasonable supervision and control of the conduct of such infant, shall be liable in a civil action for any willful, malicious or unlawful injury or destruction by such infant of the real or personal property of another.

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2017/title-2a/section-2a-53a-15/

So, unless you can show that the child ran his bike into your car on purpose, the parents would not be liable.

And even if the child did do it on purpose you would then have to prove that the parents failed or neglected to exercise reasonable supervision and control of the conduct of the child.

I think you would be hard pressed to prove that.

Here's a NJ article that reviews case law on the subject:

http://www.kostrolaw.com/NJFamilyIss...ions-children/

Next item for discussion - Can a child be held responsible for damage caused by his negligence?

At the age of 10, maybe yes, maybe no. The following article explains:

https://www.franksmithlaw.com/nj-per...n-injury-cases

It would be negligence for an adult to lose control of a vehicle and cause injury or damage to another.

It would also be negligence for a child to lose control of his bike and cause injury or damage to another if you can show that the child had the capacity to understand that he had a duty to ride his bike carefully. I don't think that would be too difficult to show since kids by the age of 10 have the knowledge and experience of bike riding to understand their duty.

If you sue the child and the parents in small claims court, the lawsuit is likely to be reported to their insurance company (if they have any) and you might have better luck dealing with an adjuster.

Of course, you can start with a demand letter, enclosing the repair estimate and the threat of a lawsuit and see how that goes.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:40 AM   #5
Pass55
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Default Re: 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

Thanks very much!!
I am reviewing it all!
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:12 PM   #6
Lexus
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In this regard you should report the accident to the law enforcement, so that they will make parents of the child a party to the incident. You should specifically state the negligence of the parents for the accident. If possible provide the surveillance clips if any to support your case.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: 10 year old child ran his bike into my car.

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In this regard you should report the accident to the law enforcement, so that they will make parents of the child a party to the incident.
That's ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexus View Post
You should specifically state the negligence of the parents for the accident. If possible provide the surveillance clips if any to support your case.
You really live in a fantasy world.
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