Can parents/guardians of juveniles found guilty of felonies be held responsible in a civil case?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can parents/guardians of juveniles found guilty of felonies be held responsible in a civil case?

I was the victim of a home invasion/armed robbery committed by 2 juveniles. I received a broken nose in the process of them trying to force their way into my house. After a few months the first one was apprehended. He was bound over as an adult and some charges were dropped for his cooperation with police. He was still given 7 years in prison. The other perpetrator pled guilty as a juvenile. Since they were juveniles when they committed the crime still are can I sue their parents to recover some of my losses from moving, the items stolen, etc.?

Asked on January 11, 2017 under Personal Injury, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue the parents or legal guardians for your direct and reasonably foreseeable losses from the robbery and assault: e.g. out-of-pocket medical costs; "pain and suffering" if there is some lingering breathing problem or disfigurement; the value of the stolen items; etc. But you can't sue for moving--it is not regarded as a sufficiently foreseeable or predictable outcome of a criminal act like this that the victim will uproot him/herself and move; the causal link is too attenuated from the law's point of view. Therefore, moving expenses cannot be recoverd, but you can sue for other costs or damages, and you could sue as your own  attorney ("pro se") if you can't find someone to take it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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