Can A Child Be Held Liable For Acts Of Negligence in Michigan?

Metro Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer


Michigan, like most most states, holds that children under the age of seven are incapable of negligence, intentional torts and crime. The duty of care imposed on a child over the age of seven, is that which a reasonably careful child of the same age, capacity, and experience would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. This means that children over the age of seven can be held liable for ordinary negligence and intentional acts that cause injury, if their conduct falls below the standard that we would expect from a child of similar age, intelligence and experience. 

Like all areas of law, there is an exception to the age, intelligence and experience standard for children. The exception applies if the minor causes injury while engaging in a dangerous or adult activity. For instance, when a minor drives an automobile he or she is engaging in an adult activity and will be held to the same standard of care that an adult is required to exercise (that being to act as a reasonable person would under like circumstances). As you can see, the adult standard of care does not take into account the adult's age, intelligence or experience. 

To recap the standards of care for children: 

  • Children under the age of seven: not capable of negligence or intentional torts (battery, assault, etc.) 
  • Children over the age of seven: must conduct themselves in the same manner as a reasonable child would with the same or similar age, intelligence and experience
  • Children engaging in dangerous or adult activities: must act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances (adult standard of care)

Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan law firm practicing personal injury law. Contact us today at 248-430-8929 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, with no obligation.