Legal Principle: Parents Are Not Liable for Wrongs Committed by Their Children Unless They Provide the Opportunity for Such Wrongful Acts to Be Committed by Their Children. - Legal Reasoning

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Legal Principle: Parents are not liable for wrongs committed by their children unless they provide the opportunity for such wrongful acts to be committed by their children.

Fact Situation: Sunil, a minor, takes the keys to his father’s car from the tabletop where his father keeps it, drives the car on the public road and hits a pedestrian who gets injured.

Which of the following statements is the most appropriate in relation to the legal principle stated above?

Options

  • Since Sunil took the car without his father’s permission, his father is not liable for Sunil’s act resulting in the accident.

  • Sunil’s father is liable for the conduct of Sunil resulting in the accident since he left the car keys where his son could easily take it without permission.

  • Accidents happen despite utmost care and hence neither Sunil nor his father is liable in the instant case.

  • Sunil’s father is not liable since he had kept his car locked and securely deposited its keys without negligence on his tabletop.

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Solution

Sunil’s father is liable for the conduct of Sunil resulting in the accident since he left the car keys where his son could easily take it without permission.

Explanation:

There is no general duty on the parents to keep a child under constant supervision. The duty of parents is to exercise a reasonable degree of supervision and control over the child, in view of any foreseeable danger in the activities the child was involved in at the relevant time, taking into account the age of the child and the child's propensity to meddle. parents have a bigger duty to control the young one, and a  correspondingly higher liability if they fail to do so.  In the case presented before us two things can be observed, firstly Sunil's father left the keys unattended within the approach of his son Sunil and secondly his son Sunil took the keys and injured a pedestrian. the mere negligence on the part of father makes him liable for the conduct of his son Sunil. Hence "Sunil’s father is liable for the conduct of Sunil resulting in the accident since he left the car keys where his son could easily take it without permission." seems most appropriate.   

Concept: Law of Torts (Entrance Exams)
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2017-2018 (May) Set 1

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