What are my medical bill responsibilities after my son was an accessory to a fight? 20 Answers as of January 03, 2011

My 16 year old son was an accessory to an assault that took place between 2 teenage boys. My son did not touch either boy but was at the fight. Police were contacted and all three boys were interviewed. Charges were not filed but the police said if they were my son would be an accessory to the assault. The one boy had injuries and will incur medical bills. Is there a possiblity my husband and I could be responsible for the medical bills?

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Dack Marasigan, LLP
Dack Marasigan, LLP | Martin E. Dack, Esq
Being the parent of minor, you are eligible to recover damages in an amount not to exceed three thousand five hundred dollars in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/3/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
Your exposure is limited to $10,000.00 for the fight.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 1/3/2011
Van Sant & Slover LLC
Van Sant & Slover LLC | David Van Sant
Any medical bills would likely be your son's responsibility.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/3/2011
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
Under Oregon law, the parent of a child can be held responsible for a child's actions, either intentionally or negligently committed, up to $7,500.00. Most homeowners' insurance policies will cover these types of losses with some convincing by an attorney representing the parents.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/3/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
t would be difficult to prove that your son has some responsibility for the medical costs if he is not the one that injured the other boy. Had this been a criminal case and your son charged as an accessory, it would be different: he could be ordered to pay the bills as part of his restitution. As things stand now, the parents of the other boy would have to sue you. I can't imagine them suing you and your son without also suing the other boy. You may want to pay an attorney for a consultation on something like this. Perhaps the attorney could draft a letter offering to pay for part of the medical bills.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 1/3/2011
    Allegretti & Associates
    Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
    Probably not.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    As the parent of a minor in a fight, you could be liable for $10,000.00 in damages. Sometime your homeowners insurance will cover the damages since your child did not actually strike the injured party.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    There is always that possibility. You may wish to check your homeowner's insurance to see if there is coverage for such a circumstance. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    Generally, no. Parents are not responsible for these types of things. However, if arrested, your son could be ordered to pay some type of restitution.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
    In the event that a claim is made against you, arising from the assault, refer the matter to your homeowners insurance who will appear, defend and/or indemnify you, relative to the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    A parent is NOT responsible for the torts of a child
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If he did not inflict the injury, it is unlikely you are responsible for the bills. I would contact a criminal defense lawyer to sort out the criminal charges.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law | Ron Graham
    Yes if they decide to file a civil lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    In California a parent can be held liable for their minor childs conduct up to $25,000 in damages. If your son was not an active participant in the assault, I am not sure how he would be held responsible unless there was some conspiracy among the 3 boys to pick on or beat up the victim. Heres the statute that governs this:

    Civil Code 1714.1. Liability of parents and guardians for willful misconduct of minor

    (a) Any act of willful misconduct of a minor that results in injury or death to another person or in any injury to the property of another shall be imputed to the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, and the parent or guardian having custody and control shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damages resulting from the willful misconduct.

    Subject to the provisions of subdivision (c), the joint and several liability of the parent or guardian having custody and control of a minor under this subdivision shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each tort of the minor, and in the case of injury to a person, imputed liability shall be further limited to medical, dental and hospital expenses incurred by the injured person, not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any liability now imposed by law.

    (b) Any act of willful misconduct of a minor that results in the defacement of property of another with paint or a similar substance shall be imputed to the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages, including court costs, and attorney's fees, to the prevailing party, and the parent or guardian having custody and control shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damages resulting from the willful misconduct, not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), except as provided in subdivision (c), for each tort of the minor.

    (c) The amounts listed in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall be adjusted every two years by the Judicial Council to reflect any increases in the cost of living in California, as indicated by the annual average of the California Consumer Price Index. The Judicial Council shall round this adjusted amount up or down to the nearest hundred dollars. On or before July 1 of each odd-numbered year, the Judicial Council shall compute and publish the amounts listed in subdivisions (a) and (b), as adjusted according to this subdivision.

    (d) The maximum liability imposed by this section is the maximum liability authorized under this section at the time that the act of willful misconduct by a minor was committed.

    (e) Nothing in this section shall impose liability on an insurer for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured for purposes of Section 533 of the Insurance Code. An insurer shall not be liable for the conduct imputed to a parent or guardian by this section for any amount in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Cary J. Wintroub
    I do not have enough facts to respond as to your son's exposure.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/2/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    If your son did nothing to harm the other boy, then no. Police typically threaten accessory for behavior that takes place after the assault, i.e. not being a cooperative witness, helping the person who did the beating get away, etc. If authorities were alleging your son had anything to do with the actual assault itself, they would just charge him with assault. Even if your son did not actually touch the boy who was harmed, if police or prosecutors thought he was somehow involved in planning or initiating the beating, they would charge him with assault under the theory of aiding and abetting (helping to commit or plan the crime), not accessory. As always, I would advise speaking to a lawyer before giving any statements to authorities. Often times when the word "accessory" is used in a police investigation, there is a fishing expedition going on.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/2/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Yes, Colorado law makes parents responsible for up to $3500 for acts of their minor children. Consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/2/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    You might, but unlikely an attorney would bother suing you. An attorney would be looking for an insurance company to sue like property or liability insurance at the location of the fight
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/2/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    You are faced with a difficult situation. Hopefully, you will not have to find out if there is a liability question. I think it is unlikely that you would have any responsibility given the situation you have described. However, your son may have some liability. You should review your insurance policies and if some coverage is possible, you should notify your carrier. Other than that, I would wait and see what happens. If a claim is made, you can consult with a lawyer at that time. Good Luck
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/2/2011
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