Anyone with law background here?

dutnguye

Platinum Member
Nov 3, 2005
2,112
6
81
Anyone with law back ground can give some pointer here?

SO long story short, my friend has an 7-8 year old son who went to visit his grandparent/uncle during winter break. The kid stayed at the uncle house and some one who was supposed to watch him at the time let him wander in the back yard by himself. The kid found a bbq lighter gun and played with it. There are flammable things in the backyard and the kid caused a fire which in turn burn down the shed in the backyard whichlead to a minor fire along the wall of the house. Fire fighters came put out the fire and at the result found evidence that the kid is the culprit behind it. The uncle filed an insurance claim for the house and insurance will pay out for the damage.

However, yesterday my friend received a letter from the attorney who represents the insurance company. The letter stated that because the prelimary finding found that the kid's negligent led the damage and my friend "maybe" is responsible for it and they are placing him on notice of a potential claim.

My question is is my friend liable for his 8 years old son's action; he was not present at the time of the fire and the uncle's family is supposed to watch the kid during that time.

Any input would be very helpful in this. By the way, this happens in California
 
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JulesMaximus

No Lifer
Jul 3, 2003
74,459
854
126
I hate insurance companies. Scum fucking bags all of them.

I can't possibly see how your friend is in any way liable for this though. He was in the care of the uncle at the time. If anything the uncle is liable. Tell the insurance weasels to fuck off.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
32,674
145
106
www.neftastic.com
Aside from the atrocious spelling mistakes...

Whomever was the caregiver of the child at the time should ultimately be responsible for the child's actions. But then again, nobody ever wants to take responsibility for anything these days. *sigh*
 

Six

Senior member
Feb 29, 2000
523
34
91
That's just scare tactics by the insurance company. Tell the insurance company good luck at proving "gross negligence."
 

dutnguye

Platinum Member
Nov 3, 2005
2,112
6
81
thanks for the input guys, that was my thought initially but i have no idea why insurance company would send out letter putting him on notice of potential claim.
 

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
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The insurance company should pay this, no doubt. They are just being weasels. Get a lawyer of your own to fire off a letter and they'll be shitting bricks. Guaranteed.
 
Sep 7, 2009
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The person who was supposed to be watching him is liable. I would ignore the letter at this point.

I also would not discuss anything with that shady insurance company.
 

mizzou

Diamond Member
Jan 2, 2008
9,734
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doesnt seem like it would hold up in court. is juvenile court getting involved?
 

Sho'Nuff

Diamond Member
Jul 12, 2007
6,211
121
106
<------ Lawyer, but not your lawyer or your friend's lawyer.

My advice? Tell your friend to talk to a lawyer versed in insurance and tort law. Depending on your state, there may very well be potential causes of action that the insurance company could file against your friend.

The following websites sum up the law of parental liability for a child's acts in some jurisdictions. I disclaim the accuracy of the information provided. You rely on any of it at your own risk.

http://www.jmdlaw.com/blog/minor-child-major-liability/

https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/pages/lawyoucanuse-129.aspx

http://www.itwonthappentome.org/documents/LiabilityDoc.pdf

http://www.johnhoward.ab.ca/pub/C11.htm
 

jemcam

Diamond Member
Jan 3, 2001
3,676
0
0
The insurance company has the right by law to subrogate against the party or parties who are liable for the damage for which they are paying. A parent is liable for their child's actions. End of story.

The only thing is, if the parents have no insurance or assets, the company may decide not to pursue subrogation because it will most certainly cost them more than they can recover.

I don't see any weasels here.
 
Sep 7, 2009
12,960
3
0
<------ Lawyer, but not your lawyer or your friend's lawyer.

My advice? Tell your friend to talk to a lawyer versed in insurance and tort law. Depending on your state, there may very well be potential causes of action that the insurance company could file against your friend.

The following websites sum up the law of parental liability for a child's acts in some jurisdictions. I disclaim the accuracy of the information provided. You rely on any of it at your own risk.

http://www.jmdlaw.com/blog/minor-child-major-liability/

https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/pages/lawyoucanuse-129.aspx

http://www.itwonthappentome.org/documents/LiabilityDoc.pdf

http://www.johnhoward.ab.ca/pub/C11.htm


I don't have time to read all of this, but unless there are extenuating circumstances then the person who is caring for the child is responsible.

An example.. If the kid was known to set fires, and the parents let someone else watch him without warning he's a little pyro, then the parents could perhaps be liable.

Or, if a doctor warned them that the kid could cause damage and they didn't warn the babysitter, then the parents could be liable.



But in the OP's case, I don't know of any court that would hold the parents liable unless there's some major info he's not telling us.
 

dutnguye

Platinum Member
Nov 3, 2005
2,112
6
81
The kid is 7-8 years old, i know him well enough to know that he's not a trouble maker. The entire thing was an unfortunate accident, the kid found the bbq gun in the backyard and started playing with it. It was windy that day, he lits up something and it flew into the backyard shed which the uncle has flammable stuff and from there the fire got bigger and into the 2nd floor. Fire fighters have to come to put it out.

The parents was not present because the kid was on Winter break and was visiting his grandpa/uncle family.

I guess the best bet is for the parents to talk to an attorney about this

Thanks for all the help guys
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
3,793
1
81
Hate, hate, hate insurance companies.

Got t-boned in an intersection where someone flew through a red light at about 35mph+. They hit one car on the passenger side, that car spun around and hit my car on the driver's side. The fault was solely the guy who blew through the red light, and was noted as such by the ticket written by the officers.

And hour or so later, the wife and I are heading down the road, and we get a phone call. My wife answers it, as I was driving, and I could hear in her tone and the answers she was giving that the insurance people were trying to get her to admit some fault (she was not in the car at the time of the accident, but happened to be across the intersection a few cars back from the guy who was struck first). I eventually pull over, take the phone, and basically insist that the fault lies not with the guy whose car struck me, but solely with the guy who blew through the red light. I got pretty pissed, but eventually they gave up on screwing with me.

OP, sounds like the person providing child care should be responsible. There was a daycare around here that happened to have a kid die from falling into a pool. They can't claim that was the parent's fault for not teaching the kid to swim. Kids are going to make bad decisions, it's simply bound to happen, they don't know any better in most cases. Fault lies with the uncle. Pure and simple, kids will test boundaries of a disciplinary figure to see what they can do. In that case, it seems like the kid could do pretty much whatever without supervision.
 

Tweak155

Lifer
Sep 23, 2003
11,448
262
126
If the uncle accepted responsibility to watch the child, it is his fault. Pretty simple.
 

Cheesemoo

Golden Member
Jun 22, 2001
1,653
20
81
the insurance company that cover for my friend's kid's uncle is mercury

Had a young girl hit me driving her parents car, they had Mercury. They said all will be taken care of, blah blah, well then a few weeks later I get a notice that they will not be covering because there was an exclusion of the girl form her parents insurance. I my opinion, not the best company I have ever had to deal with. My insurance had to sue the parents to get it paid for since she should not have been driving their car in the first place. Seemed fishy taking a few weeks to figure she wasn't covered. Oh well, Nothing out of my pocket, truck fixed fairly fast, their car pretty much totaled and the parents learned they need to follow through on issues when trying to save money.
 

Baked

Lifer
Dec 28, 2004
36,152
17
81
Your friend needs to write back to the attorney and tell him to fuck off.

In your friend's case, the uncle and grandparents are the ones responsible for monitoring the kid, and they failed to do that. Your friend wasn't the cause of the fire and subsequent damage to the house, it was guardians' lack of responsibility for watching after the kid.
 

dutnguye

Platinum Member
Nov 3, 2005
2,112
6
81
thanks for the input again guys. awesome community here
i just found odd that the insurance already paid out to fix the damages of the house and whatever that was damage inside the house yet they still send a letter to my friend stating that he maybe liable to it due to the child's negligent. The uncle in this case already has his house fix so i don't know what is going on with that either
 

Wreckem

Diamond Member
Sep 23, 2006
9,458
987
126
thanks for the input again guys. awesome community here
i just found odd that the insurance already paid out to fix the damages of the house and whatever that was damage inside the house yet they still send a letter to my friend stating that he maybe liable to it due to the child's negligent. The uncle in this case already has his house fix so i don't know what is going on with that either

An insurance company can pay a claim and then go after the party responsible for the claim.
 

Phoenix86

Lifer
May 21, 2003
14,643
9
81
An insurance company can pay a claim and then go after the party responsible for the claim.
This. It's probably a tactic in case they found a worth while method to go after someone else for the money AND the claim was large enough to do so AND the person actually had money to get. I'm betting 99% of cases one of these aren't true so no action is taken.