The Kuhn Law Firm

In Minnesota are parents liable for the acts of their children?

In summary, the following statutes provide that parents are liable for the acts of their children under certain circumstances:

Minn. Stat. 540.18: parent is jointly & severally liable for up to $1,000 for willful, malicious acts of child who is under 18 and living with parent; but only special damages recoverable.

Minn. Stat. 611A.79, subd. 3: increases limit to $5,000 for bias offenses; but parent not liable if reasonable efforts to control child to prevent conduct is undertaken.

Minn Stat. 340A.90: social host liability – if knowingly or recklessly provide space and a person is injured then parent can be held liable.

Special damages are damages that are specific to the injury or wrong committed and are usually capable of calculating with mathematical certainty. Think, out-of-pocket expenses. These are different from “general damages” that also flow from the injury but are not calculable. For example, a car accident victim has has medical expenses, the special damages will be all the costs of treatment, loss of income and other dollar losses. If the victim has pain and suffering as well, then general damages will be some amount of money awarded based on the jury’s or judge’s judgment and common sense to compensate the injured person.

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