Parental Liability – Juvenile court Costs

Parents or guardians may be required to pay specified costs if they have an ability to pay including for supervised detention, home electronic monitoring, and the reasonable costs associated with housing a minor in juvenile hall.

California Civil Code 1714.1 – parental Liability

California Civil Code section 1714.1 states, “Any act of willful misconduct of a minor that results in injury or death to another person, or in any injury to the property of another, shall be imputed to the parent or guardian having custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages.”  “Willful misconduct” requires an intent to act, above and beyond mere negligence on the part of the minor.  Section 1714.1 only imposes parental liability for a minor’s “willful misconduct,” which means that the minor did something on purpose, not accidently or carelessly.

Parental Liability – Injuries and Damages

A custodial parent or guardian is jointly liable, along with the minor, for any damages resulting from the minor’s “willful misconduct”, for an amount not to exceed $25,000 for each wrongful act.  This includes compensation for medical treatment and other injury-related expenses, but doesn’t include non-economic damages like pain and suffering.  If the misconduct involves graffiti or “[the] defacement of property of another with paint or a similar substance”, it includes the cost to repair the property and can include an award of court and attorney’s fees to the person filing a lawsuit over the incident.

Parental Liability – Driving 

There are two California vehicle code sections that deal with a parent or legal guardian’s potential liability for damages caused by a minor’s driving.  CVC section 17707, states that: “Any civil liability of a minor arising out of his driving a motor vehicle…is hereby imposed upon the person who signed and verified the application of the minor for a license, and the person shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for any damages proximately resulting from the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the minor in driving a motor vehicle.”  CVC section 17708, holds a parent liable for all foreseeable damages any time they give express or implied permission for a minor to drive a vehicle and the minor ends up causing a car accident.