Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

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.

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 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.

About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

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