A Parent's Responsibility

Florida case law provides that generally parents are not liable for the torts (a civil wrong) of their minor children simple because of the fact paternity. See Snow v. Nelson, 475 So.2d 225 (Fla. 1985). However, there are instances where a parent will be held responsible for the acts of their children in the realm of civil actions.

Florida law establishes one instance where the parent knows, or with due care should know, that personal injury to another is possible and the parent fails to exercise control over the child. In this instance the parent may be held liable to the injured party. In this instance, the plaintiff must show that the child had a habit of engaging in a particular act or course of conduct which led to the injury.

Therefore, a parent may have legal exposure for the conduct of their children. To summarize, a parent has a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent his children from injuring another when he knows or should know from the child’s habit or course of conduct that injury is possible.