Torts – Recent Legislation – Parental Liability Statutes

Fourteen states now have statutes imposing vicarious liability upon parents for tortious acts of their children. These statutes, with one exception, all have been enacted within the past six years, and they present the most significant attempt to date by legislatures to control the incidence and remedy the effects of juvenile vandalism. The parental liability laws vary with respect to the ages of the children covered, and they place different pecuniary limits on the extent of the parent’s liability. Coverage may extend to personal injuries as well as to property damage. All except the Louisiana statute, however, apply only to the child’s intentional torts. The Louisiana law, modeled after those of civil law countries, imposes liability for negligent as well as intentional torts.