Visitor Question

Liability for Actions of a Child?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Indiana)

While my child was in the care of his father on August 9 2009, his father dropped him off at a friends house to spend the night (his father and I are not together).

While at the friend’s house my son pulled a cord on their garage door and it fell on another child’s ankle. The other child’s parents are suing the friend’s parents’ homeowners insurance policy.

Now the homeowners insurance company is attempting to sue us. Am I liable for an injury that occurred while my child was in the care of his father and/or the care of the friend’s mother?

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.


Dear Anonymous,

There isn’t a clear answer to your question.

What you are describing is a “Subrogation”.

The homeowner’s insurance company has either already paid the injured child’s claim and is now attempting to attempt to recover the amount they paid from you – that’s called “subrogating their loss”, or a lawsuit is already underway and the homeowners insurance company is trying to bring you into the lawsuit as a co-defendant. That is referred to as “impleading” you into the case.

Often people will say such things as, “Someone was injured on my property and they are suing us”, when they actually mean, “Someone was injured on my property and they’ve filed an insurance claim with my homeowners insurance company”.

That’s normally the way it works.

When people are injured on someone’s property, or in another personal injury case, they usually don’t start by suing he other person. Instead they usually start by filing a claim with the insurance company. If the settlement negotiations fail then the next step is a lawsuit.

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: December 20, 2011

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