Toddler driver causes Connecticut car accident

Motor vehicle accidents are all too common, but it is not every day that we see a child at the wheel of a car causing an accident. When a child is not properly restrained in a vehicle, or is otherwise left in the car in a manner that leaves them able to operate the vehicle, serious consequences can follow.

According to Fox News, Connecticut, a man has been arrested following an accident caused by his two-year-old child. Two parked cars were struck by another vehicle, and complaints were called in to West Hartford, Connecticut, police. When authorities arrived on the scene, they learned that the car which struck the parked cars was actually operated by a toddler, who was allegedly left in the running vehicle, and managed to put the car's transmission into drive.

The 33-year-old father of the child was reportedly nearby, assisting his brother with a disabled vehicle. The man has been charged with risk of injury and was held on bond. Following the father's arrest, the child was left with its uncle, at the scene, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families was notified of the incident.

Despite the risk-of-injury charge, no injuries were reported to have been caused by the accident, however, had the car entered an active roadway, it may have struck vehicles with drivers and passengers in them, causing injuries to the child "driver" and others.

Connecticut negligence law

When bringing a personal injury lawsuit involving negligence, Connecticut law requires the following elements to be proven:

  • A duty or obligation by the defendant to maintain a standard of conduct for the protection of others.
  • A breach of that duty or obligation.
  • The injury was proximately caused by the breach of that duty or obligation.
  • Damages were suffered that are compensable.

While a two-year-old child cannot be sued for causing injuries while accidentally operating a motor vehicle, the person responsible for the supervision of the child is a likely defendant. A parent is not always automatically liable for injuries caused by his or her child, however, certain actions by the parent can contribute to proving them to be negligent, such that they should be considered responsible for the injuries caused.

Connecticut's parental liability statute

Nearly every state has some sort of law in place to hold parents liable for property damage or injuries caused by their child. In Connecticut, by law, a parent is liable for damages, usually limited to $5,000 where the child's actions are willful or malicious, or where the child operates a motor vehicle and causes property damage or injury to a person, so long as the child would have been liable if it were an adult.

If you, or someone you know has been injured due to another's negligence, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can get your case started on the right path, and lead you in the direction of the best possible recovery.