Mum v Son

This is interesting:

An Australian mother asked her 11 year old son to park her car in the garage. She stood in front of the car, apparently giving instructions, when the son lost control of the car and ran her over. The mother sued the son for damages and won.

Now, you might think that a parent can’t do that, suing their own child. And even if they can, they shouldnt. Parents suing their own kids sounds outrageous and ‘not right’. However, it happens more often than you think, but it’s usually the other way round – children suing their parents, for instance  for maintenance or in inheritance matters.

From the facts it is not clear why Mom sued in the first place.  Conceivably Mom was refused insurance cover for her (serious) injuries, i.e. faced a huge hospital bill.  The private insurance/ public health carer probably argued that standing in front of a moving car operated by a child was gross negligent, hence no cover. Still, Mom could have sued the insurance instead of relying on a negligence claim against the son.

Anyway, the interesting result is that the court held that even an 11 year old owes a duty of care and is liable for damages, at least in principle. In the absence of any statutory authority regarding civil culpability of minors, parents are well advised to be very careful when supervising their children. Next time sonny might park  neighbour’s car….




Image source: