“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
—James Baldwin

Any act of malicious or willful misconduct of a minor (under age 18) which results in injury to the person or property of another, including theft or shoplifting, is by law attributable to the parents or legal guardian having custody or control of the minor. It is not a defense that the parents or guardian could not have anticipated the minor’s misconduct.

The parents or guardian having custody or control are jointly and separately liable with the minor for any damages resulting from the minor’s malicious or willful misconduct, up to $10,000 per occurrence.

Nothing in the law limits the rights of an insurance company to exclude coverage for the acts of a minor imputed to his parents or legal guardian pursuant to this section. Accordingly, parents and guardians would do well to check their insurance policies to determine if coverage for this type of liability is provided.

The above article is an excerpt from Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, 2nd Edition (Fenestra Books, 2012), by Donald A. Loose, republished with the author’s permission. 

Disclaimer: Laws change constantly. Specific legal advice should be obtained regarding any legal matter. The information contained on this website does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created. 

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Donald A. Loose is an Arizona attorney, and the author of Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, and Estate Planning in Arizona: What You Need to Know.  Mr. Loose is a regular guest on radio shows featuring local newsmaker interviews. He may be contacted at don@looselawgroup.com.