The answer to this question is based on many different factors, such as your child’s age at the time of the accident and also their mental capacity. In Washington State we have comparative negligence, meaning that fault can be divided between the parties involved in the accident. Comparative negligence means that technically a child can be held partially or wholly responsible for their injuries.

In Washington State a child under the age of 6 cannot be held liable for any injuries sustained, meaning that the child will be deemed fault free when deciding who was responsible for the child’s injuries.

Children 6 years and older can be deemed negligent which could make them legally responsible for injuries sustained. While this may seem harsh, Washington State law does include that children cannot be judged by the same standards that are used to judge adults. Your child could be deemed negligent if they fail to exercise the same amount of ordinary care that another child of the same age and mental capacity would reasonably take in the same situation. So an 8-year-old child can’t be held to the same standards as an 11-year-old because they are at different developmental stages in their life. This same standard is in place for children with special needs or that are mentally disabled and also for advanced children that function at a higher level of intelligence than normal children at their age.

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