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Father Faces Charges in Car Crash That Injures His Two Children

Posted On behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on May 30, 2014 in Car Accidents

Where a parent drives negligently and causes personal injuries to his or her child in an auto accident, the child is legally entitled to bring a claim for damages against the parent. Connecticut and most other states did not always recognize the child’s right to sue a parent for injuries from a car crash. In the past, the “intra-family immunity” doctrine prevented spouses from suing spouses and children from suing their parents.

The rule arose to preserve family unity and to prevent family members from engaging in bitter litigation against each other. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, most of the states had abolished the family immunity rule. For those states that did not abolish it completely, exceptions were passed into law allowing for claims where there were injuries arising out of auto accidents.

The doctrine eroded away with the advent of widespread auto liability insurance, which made it unnecessary to protect family members from making such claims. Even if there was a lawsuit, the participants carried on the fiction of suing each other when in reality the claim was made against the insurance company. The defending parent was compelled by the insurer to defend the case, and the attorney representing the parent was hired by the company.

A recent Connecticut car accident is an example of these principles. In that case, a New Britain man lost control of his car on Route 12 in Ledyard. The vehicle struck a telephone pole and then continued to the other side of the road where it drove through a metal guardrail and rolled over into a swimming pool. The driver and his two children, ages two and four, were injured but miraculously not killed.

The two-year-old remains in the hospital with a serious arm injury. The four-year-old reportedly suffered a broken leg but has been released. Connecticut authorities recently arrested the man for reckless driving and first-degree reckless endangerment arising from the car crash. The claims of the children for monetary damages can be pursued with the help of a car accident lawyer, when the extent of their injuries is more fully determined.

Source: NBC Connecticut, "Police Release New Info on Ledyard Crash", Kerry Longobucco, George Colli and Jessie Sawyer, May 27, 2014