Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Under-Age Injury: When Children Sue Their Parents

by Becky Freeman

When you think of personal injury lawsuits, you probably think of typical slip-and-fall cases or car accidents. Some truly bizarre cases often make headlines, but a new phase in personal injury include children who take their parents to court on injury charges. Can a child really win a case against their own parent in court? Check out some of these circumstances that could spell a win for a child.

College Tuition

Caitlyn Ricci's parents were divorced, and they tried to share the responsibility of raising their daughter. She claimed she was thrown out her mother's house as a teen and was then not welcome in the home of either parent. Forced to move in with her grandparents, she took her parents to court when she was 21, establishing it was their parental duty to front the money for her college tuition. Although many media outlets followed the story and the young woman faced intense opposition across the nation, she won the suit. Her parents were ordered to pay 16,000 dollars this year and sums in subsequent years for college money.

Another teen, Rachel Canning, also sued her parents for college tuition. She, however, dropped the suit before it could be resolved in court. Suing for tuition is a difficult suit, because there is no real legal duty that requires parents to pay for college. However, depending on the circumstances, such as if the child had a sum of money held in trust or a written promise of payment from a parent, suing for tuition after estrangement could be a possibility. 

Car Accident

With the support of her grandparents, twelve-year-old Faith Varden Carberry successfully won a quarter of a million dollars when she sued her mother for fault in the car crash that caused the death of her sister and close friend. Her mother has been driving the car intoxicated with alcohol. She was so inebriated, she did not remain conscious at the wheel. Faith, who survived the crash, still suffered extensive injuries. She wore a spinal cast for two months in order to correct damage to her back and had to endure several more surgeries. 

In this case, the parent was directly responsible for the death of her child's family member. She was also facing criminal charges and was clearly unfit to continue to parent the child in question. In these cases, suing the parent (or the insurance company of the parent) can pay off in order to cover medical and emotional damages.

Child Abuse

Some law experts believe that suing against a school or business responsible for abuse is effective, as these places have insurers that back up these types of suits. However, a child suing a parent for abuse is especially difficult, as most parents do not have the personal finances to fund a settlement. A lawsuit in this case is only effective if:

  • the parent has wealth or assets that can be liquidated into wealth
  • the parent can pay over time. For example, a parent may be bound to pay a certain amount of money for a set term of months or years.
  • the parent can pay indirectly. Paying for a college tuition or setting up a trust fund for the plaintiff may be more realistic.

Lawsuits against parents are becoming more common, especially as modern children gain more autonomy and suffer injuries that children should never need to suffer. In the case of car accidents, children need to know that they can indeed seek for the restitution they deserve. As far as other cases, like abuse or lack of expected financial support, a personal injury lawyer, like one from Hardee and Hardee LLP, will have to help evaluate the case in order to see if it will actually be worth the cost of court. 


About Me

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Hello and welcome, I'm Winfred Paulo. I have a passion for civil court cases of all kinds. Some time back, I ended up in the thick of a civil case after a lengthy dispute with my neighbor. The dispute went on for years and ended badly with an incident that landed us both in court. We had to prove our side of the case in an effort to obtain a positive outcome and recoup our losses. Unfortunately, I lost the case due to a lack of evidence. Since then, I've maintain a strong interest in civil cases and their proceedings. I will share information about civil cases on this site to help others understand these proceedings better. I may talk about legal terms, and expected outcomes for each case type. I hope you visit often to learn more. Thanks for stopping by my website.