Four Situations In Which You May Make Personal Injury Claims Against Your Parent

24 April 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

In personal injury law, the parental immunity doctrine prohibits children from instigating personal injury claims against their parents. In states that allow this doctrine, you are not allowed to sue your parent for damages if his or her negligence leads to your injury. However, even in these states, there are exceptional cases where you are allowed to submit a claim. For example, you may be allowed to sue your parent if:

You Are Emancipated

You are an emancipated minor if you are legally allowed to assume the legal responsibilities of an adult. One of these responsibilities is the right to sue and get sued. States have different paths to emancipation, but the usual ones include joining the military, getting married or getting emancipated via court applications. Whichever path you use, you will be allowed to sue your mom or day for personal injury damages if your state's laws recognize your emancipation.

Your Parent Has Abused You

When parents abuse their children, either physically or sexually, are not allowed to hide behind the parental immunity doctrine. Consider a case where your parents have used excessive force when disciplining you (for example, by beating you with a baseball bat), and you have been seriously injured (say broken arm). This is clearly a case of physical abuse, and you may instigate injury claims against them.

Note that some states will only allow abuse-related claims if your injury was intentional. For example, if your dad picks a bat and beats you in the arm with it, then you may submit a claim. The same may not be true if pushing and shoving each other during an argument and you lose your balance, falls and breaks your arm.

He or She Was Not Acting In His or Her Capacity as a Parent

You may also be allowed to submit a claim if a parent causes you injury, but not while acting in his or her capacity as a parent. For example, if your parent injures you while disciplining you, then he or she was acting in his or her capacity as a parent. However, if he or she is a bus driver, and you are injured in an accident in the bust he or she drives, then he or she was not acting in his or her capacity as your parent. In this later case, you may be allowed to submit an injury claim even for an injury that may have otherwise been exempted.

These laws vary by state, and there may also be other exceptions in your state. Therefore, you need to consult a personal injury lawyer and evaluate your state laws before suing your parents for personal injury damages.