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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 15762
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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how can i protect myself from being liable for a mentally ill 17 year old dependent action

Resolved Question:

how can i protect myself from being liable for a mentally ill 17 year old dependent actions?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 4 years ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

First of all, I would highly recommend a good homeowner's policy (as they almost always cover negligence causes of action) or a good umbrella insurance policy. You can't account for every possibility, and this would be the best way to protect yourself. Mentally ill individuals do not have any greater defense than mentally sound ones as to negligence actions, so the fact that she is mentally ill won't be any defense to a personal injury / tort / etc... cause of action. California has a statute (Cal. Civil Code 1714.1) that lays out that parents will be responsible for the willful acts (not merely negligent, but actually willful, meaning that there has to be a mental state that affirmatively takes action) of a minor, but only up to $25,000. That's where it would be a good thing to have an insurance policy, and since the liability limit is so low, you won't have to actually spend that much on it.

ScottyMacEsq :

But that's the best way (aside from constantly following your child everywhere and being hyper-vigilant in what she does) to "protect" yourself.

ScottyMacEsq :

And again, this only applies to actual willful acts, so if the acts were negligent, parental responsibility does not apply.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

What type of lawyer would I need to get a judgement to make myself not liable for stalking type personallity so

Customer:

wouldn't be liable?

ScottyMacEsq :

Has there been a lawsuit actually filed?

Customer:

not yet but a codependent relationship with another "cutter" is ongoing and could lead to a lawsuit, currently my daughter is in a hold in a behavioiral hospital.

ScottyMacEsq :

To get a "judgment" absolving you of liability is what's known as a "declaratory judgment". It's most typical in breach of contract actions, and rarely seen, if ever, in tort (negligence, personal injury, etc...) type actions, and certainly never before an actual action has occurred. The reason is that there is no "ripe" claim yet. Neither side can go into court and say that this "might" happen, so give me a judgment as though it actually has or has not. Only when there is an occurance of a specific action or injury can a court then take up that issue and make a finding on the merits of the case.

ScottyMacEsq :

But if that should happen, I would highly suggest getting a tort defense lawyer that has specialized knowledge in parental liability.

ScottyMacEsq :

Another reason for insurance is that they will pay (most of the time) for your attorney fees.

Customer:

thanks

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