Generally, a parent will not be held liable for the torts committed by their child. However, there are exceptions to the general rule. First, where the relationship of master and servant exists and the child is acting within the scope of his authority accorded by the parent. Second, where the parent is negligent in entrusting to the child an instrument which, because of its nature, use and purpose, is so dangerous as to constitute, in the hands of the child, an unreasonable risk to others. Third, where the parent is negligent in entrusting to the child an instrumentality which, though not necessarily a dangerous thing of itself, is likely to put to a dangerous use because of the known propensities of the child. Fourth, where the parent’s negligence consists entirely of his failure to reasonably restrain the child from vicious conduct imperiling others when the parent has knowledge of the child’s propensity toward such conduct. Lastly, where the parent participates in the child’s tortious act by consenting to it or by ratifying it later and accepting the consequences. Should any exception apply, the long held concept of vicarious liability will kick in and the parent can be held responsible for the acts of his/her child. For a recent discussion on the concept of vicarious liability in the parent-child relationship see the Eastern District Court of Appeals decision in Meier, et al. v. Schrock, et al. handed down on May 7, 2013.
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