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Parents Are statutorily Liable For Damages Willfully Caused By Their Minor Children Up To $10,000, But Are Those Damages Covered?

As a practice, when a minor causes damage or injury, the plaintiff will name as defendants both the minor and the parents.  There are a variety of theories under which the parents can be held liable for the minor’s acts.  See HERE for example.  If the minor’s acts appear to have been intentional, one of theory of recovery is a Nevada statute.  N.R.S. 41.470 imposes limited vicarious liability on parents whose minor children willfully cause damage to others.  The statute reads:

 

NRS 41.470  Imposition of liability for minor’s willful misconduct.

Parental Liability in Nevada, Vicarious Liability, Nevada Coverage Law, Nevada Bad Faith Law, Mills & Associates Nevada Insurance and Coverage Lawyers, Las Vegas Insurance and Coverage Lawyers 702-240-60601.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 424.085, any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury or death to another person or injury to the private property of another or to public property is imputed to the parents or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, and the parents or guardian having custody or control are jointly and severally liable with the minor for all damages resulting from the willful misconduct.

2.  The joint and several liability of one or both parents or guardian having custody or control of a minor under this section must not exceed $10,000 for any such act of willful misconduct of the minor.

3.  The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any other liability imposed by law.

In Roddick v. Plank, 608 F.Supp. 220 (1985), the U.S. District Court for Nevada analyzed the term “willful misconduct” saying that the statute is not implicated unless there is evidence that the minor either intended to do harm or that the minor knew or should have known that the actions would very probably cause harm.

In deciding whether there is coverage, there must be analysis from both the minor’s and the parents’ perspective.

Most policies exclude coverage for intentional acts of the minor.  But what about coverage for the  parents’ rising from the statute? Will that be a covered exposure?

Every policy will have to be considered on its own merits. If you have questions regarding intentional acts and parental liability, please give Mills & Associates a call at 702-240-6060 or email Mike Mills.

N.R.S. 41.470 imposes limited vicarious liability on parents whose minor children willfully cause damage to others.  The statute reads:

NRS 41.470  Imposition of liability for minor’s willful misconduct.

Vicarious Liability, Parental Liability in Nevada, Nevada Insurance Law, Mills & Associates Nevada Insurance and Coverage Lawyers 702-240-60601.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 424.085, any act of willful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury or death to another person or injury to the private property of another or to public property is imputed to the parents or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, and the parents or guardian having custody or control are jointly and severally liable with the minor for all damages resulting from the willful misconduct.

2.  The joint and several liability of one or both parents or guardian having custody or control of a minor under this section must not exceed $10,000 for any such act of willful misconduct of the minor.

3.  The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any other liability imposed by law.

In Roddick v. Plank, 608 F.Supp. 220 (1985), the U.S. District Court for Nevada interpreted the term “willful misconduct” and decided that there must be evidence that the minor either intended to do harm or that the minor knew or should have known that the actions would very probably cause harm.

As was the case in Roddick, plaintiffs regularly names both the minor and the parent as defendants.

While every policy is different, the minor’s reckless actions are most usually covered under auto and homeowner’s policies.  The more difficult situation is where the minor’s actions are clearly intentional.

Most policies exclude coverage for intentional acts of the minor.  But what about coverage for the vicarious liability imposed on the parents by law?  Will those be covered?

Again, every policy will have to be considered on its own merits.  If you have questions regarding intentional acts and parental liability, please give Mills & Associates a call at 702-240-6060 or email Mike Mills.

Mills & Associates Nevada Insurance Lawyers 702-240-6060

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