You can be sued for negligence if you get into a car accident while driving your own children; IF the circumstances all line up and a judge agrees. One father found this out the hard way. He was driving the children back from what was supposed to be a Boy Scouts of America camping trip. When bad weather came about, the trip was cancelled. Many in the group hunkered down for the night through the storm, and left in the early morning after cleaning the camping site.
In this circumstance, an unregistered volunteer of the Boy Scouts of America drove only his own children back to the location and guidelines the group had in place. Along the way, he drove of the side of the road, and his Buick flipped. His two children were injured. His younger son thankfully walked away with only lacerations. His older son however was not as lucky. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury and a broken ankle. He will have motor and sensory effects for the rest of his life due to the accident.
To make this case even more heart wrenching, the person who filed the lawsuit is not only the children’s mother, but also the wife of the driver. She chose to blame the father for the accident, believing it was driving while fatigued that caused the accident. She also chose to blame Boy Scouts of America, its local affiliate, the Three Fires Council, and Naperville Presbyterian Church. She sued and the negligence suit was later settled out of court for $11 million dollars. One attorney involved in the case stated that the leadership of the entire event had a responsibility to ensure no one left the site in a fatigued state. That responsibility was not upheld.
The guilt involved in any accident involving your own child is unbearable, but to then have to go through the horrors of court with the finger of negligence pointing at you in unimaginable. Needless to say, the wife has since divorced her tired driving husband, and has taken the children with her. Both children are now doing well, the oldest son is looking forward to graduation.
The reality of this case is that although the husband was named as a defendant, it was only because the Boy Scouts and the Church were the real lawsuit targets. So don’t expect to see a lot of similar kid vs. parent type cases in the future without a big defendant to be a part of the case too. In general a kid can’t sue a parent for this type of accident, but this case was an exception to the rule.