Visitor Question

Bicycle hit stopped car…

Submitted By: Anita (Olney, IL)

A 14 year old minor riding a bicycle hit a stopped car at intersection.

The bicyclist was heading west and the car was stopped at the stop sign at the south west point at the intersection. The bicyclist turned north coming off the sidewalk into the intersection, veered over and hit the car on its side near the rear tire.

The police report states the bicyclist said he didn’t see the car (6pm, daylight), and there was a witness on the sidewalk. Are the minor’s parents responsible for repairing the vehicle damages? Is the driver responsible for the minor’s injuries, even though the driver is not liable, since it was a bicycle/car accident?

Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anita,

Many states impute property damage caused by minors (to third parties) to the minor’s parents. The State of Illinois is one of those states. However, in Illinois, for a parent to be liable for damage caused by their child, the minor’s actions must have been “willful or malicious.” From the facts you present, there is no evidence the minor acted willfully or with malice in the accident.

Illinois Statute Section 740 ILCS 115/3, addressing parental responsibility for their children’s actions, reads in part:

“Liability. The parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who resides with such parent or legal guardian is liable for actual damages for the willful or malicious acts of such minor which cause injury to a person or property…”

In the State of Illinois, bicyclists are required to comply with the same laws and regulations as are drivers of motor vehicles. As a result, if it can be shown the bicyclist was in violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code, the minor may be cited for violating Illinois Vehicle Code Section 625.

Illinois Vehicle Code Section 625 reads in part:

“Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle…”

The action you decide to take can be based on your review of the above statutes.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 21, 2016

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