Parental Liability

Parental Liability

Parental Liability: What Is It and When Does It Apply?

Recently we had a client ask us whether a parent has liability for the actions of their child.  After researching this issue, we thought that this valuable information on Parental Liability would be helpful to share.

Civil Parental Liability

In Indiana, a parent is liable for the actions of their child if those actions are done knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly and cause harm to a person or their property.  However to be liable, the parent must have custody of the child and the child must be living with the parent.  The limit of a parent’s liability is $5,000.  (See I.C. 34-32-4-1).  The purpose of this statute is to protect innocent victims from damages by irresponsible minors.

How long am I liable for my child’s actions?

A parent will only typically have liability for their minor child until the child reaches the age of majority, 18.

What happens if my child injures someone or something?

You may have insurance coverage if your child injures someone or something.  Typically both homeowners insurance and renters insurance provide coverage for both property damage and liability coverage.  These insurance policies usually cover damage that someone suffers while on your property, even if the injury was committed by another household.  Therefore, if your child injures someone or something, always check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage.

What about my minor driving a car?

Pursuant to I.C. 9-24-9-4, an individual who signs an application for a permit or driver’s license agrees to be responsible jointly and severally with the minor applicant for any injury or damage that the minor applicant causes by reason of the operation of a motor vehicle if the minor applicant is liable in damages.  However, when a minor turns 18, the individual who signed the minor’s application is relieved from the liability imposed under this chapter and subsequently incurred by the applicant operating a motor vehicle.


If you have any questions regarding Parental Liability, please contact one of our attorneys. We would love to help you.


*Disclaimer: The author is licensed to practice in the state of Indiana. The information contained above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Laws vary by state and region. Furthermore, the law is constantly changing. Thus, the information above may no longer be accurate at this time. No reader of this content, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included herein without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.