A 12 year old child uses his parent's car without her consent. He loses control over the steering wheel and hits his twin brother, which causes his brother's death.

In this case, who is held responsible?

Can the son be sued?

  • 1
    Is this a "just asking for a friend"? :D Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 3:21
  • 1
    It's actually for a fictional work Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 11:37
  • 1
    Something about the term “mother” annoys me. Can we change it to “parent” or “guardian”? I don’t think there is so much bias regarding children’s genders, but they are also unnecessary in this question. Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 14:06
  • The law is not the same in all jurisdictions and is not even uniform in U.S. states on this issue. Also, the tags homicide and manslaughter that normally refer to criminal matters are included, but being sued is not a criminal matter. Who would you imagine suing?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 22:30
  • The gender of the parent might play a role in custody cases, but in this case, it indeed might not matter.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Depending on the country (not mentioned), the mother may be at fault for not keeping the car out of the hands of her son, but on the other hand, it seems quite impossible to 100% prevent a determined 12 year old from getting hold of your car keys. That would likely be up to a judge to decide whether and how much she is at fault.

And also depending on the country, the 12 year old will be held more or less responsible for his actions, due to his age. Depends on the laws, and may depend on the judge deciding whether a normal 12 year old, or whether this particular 12 year old, should know that him driving a car is illegal and highly dangerous and possibility of someone dying was foreseeable.

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