Highway Traffic Act vs Parental Responsibility Act

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Highway Traffic Act vs Parental Responsibility Act

by: jimbo427 on
Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:27 pm

A few of us old timers were having a bit of debate over coffee today and I thought somebody here might be able to settle the bet so to speak.
We were talking about an unfortunate incident where a group of 16-17 year old kids were riding their bikes three abreast at night with no lights or helmets and they were hit from behind and one of them killed. A very tragic situation.
No charges were laid against the driver but the dead boys parents sued and the driver has now counter sued.
Our debate was up to what age are parents responsible for mistakes their kids make. We know that if a child under 16 is caught riding a bike without a helmet the parents are liable but if the child is 16 to 18 the parents are not liable, the teenager is.
We also know that under the Parental Responsibility Act there are some cases where a parent can be held responsible for his kid's actions up to the age of 18.
Can a parent be sued because their child, over the age of 16, did something in violation of the Highway Traffic Act that caused an accident?
Just wondering.
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by: ynotp on
Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:21 pm

This is one of those situations where the law doesn't seem to jive with common decency. You can pretty much sue anyone for any reasonable loss. If I have this right she is suing his estate not his parents, his estate is currently worthless. Perhaps if the parents sue successfully and the damages are awarded to the estate of the deceased then the estate would have some value. With tort law damage is usually assessed among the responsible parties so if the boy's estate would be responsible for paying a percentage of the total damage.

As far as what age are parents responsible for their kids actions. That is an age old question and the law has different answers as you have pointed out. Philosophically, I'm torn on this one because there are many adults who commit misdeeds due to bad parenting, but that begs the question when does a person have to take sole responsibility for their actions? I guess it need to be looked at on a case by case basis.
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