Like most other states, Hawaii has implemented parental responsibility laws such that parents are financially responsible for their minor children’s actions.
State law in Hawaii only holds parents reliable for damages in:
- General torts
- Caused by driving
Parents are only liable for their children who are under the age of majority of 18.
How Are Parents Liable for General Torts?
Parents are jointly and severely liable for any torts that their children commit. Thus, parents are strictly liable and cannot escape liability. However, they may limit the liability amount.
For example, if your child intentionally swings his bat at a statute and breaks that statute, then you will owe the owner of the statute for its cost.
How Are Parents Liable for Driving Damages?
In Hawaii, before a minor can get a drivers permit, they must have their driving application signed by a parent, guardian, or employer. Once signed, the person agrees to be financially responsible for any damages caused by the minor while driving.
How Are Parents Liable for Property Damages?
In the property damages clause of Hawaii state law, property damages refer to any graffiti sprayed onto buildings or housing. If a minor child does graffiti, he must remove it within 60 days or pay for the cost of removal. Additionally, the child must perform 80 hours of community service.
Parents are liable where the child cannot afford to pay for the removal of the graffiti.
Am I Liable Under Common Law?
If you are not liable under Hawaii state law, then you may still be liable under common law. Common law liability arises where the parents are negligent. Generally, if a parent knows or should know that his child has a propensity to cause harm or is about to cause harm, and the parent does not do anything to prevent it, then the parent maybe liable. This is because parents have a duty to supervise and to control their children. So, if they failed to do such and the minor child causes harm, then the parents are liable for their children’s action.
Contacting an Attorney
If your minor child’s actions have resulted in monetary damages, please contact a personal injury lawyer to limit your financial burden.