2021 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 2 - Imputable Negligence
§ 51-2-3. Liability for Malicious Acts of Minor Child

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-2-3 (2021)
  1. Every parent or guardian having the custody and control over a minor child or children under the age of 18 shall be liable in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 plus court costs for the willful or malicious acts of the minor child or children resulting in reasonable medical expenses to another, damage to the property of another, or both reasonable medical expenses and damage to property.
  2. This Code section shall be cumulative and shall not be restrictive of any remedies now available to any person, firm, or corporation for injuries or damages arising out of the acts, torts, or negligence of a minor child under the "family-purpose car doctrine," any statute, or common law in force and effect in this state.
  3. The intent of the General Assembly in passing this Code section is to provide for the public welfare and aid in the control of juvenile delinquency, not to provide restorative compensation to victims of injurious or tortious conduct by children.

(Ga. L. 1956, p. 699, § 1; Ga. L. 1966, p. 424, § 1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 511, § 2; Ga. L. 1982, p. 849, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1987, p. 3, § 51; Ga. L. 1997, p. 532, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Juvenile proceedings, parental rights, mental incompetency and dependency for juveniles, T. 15, C. 11.

Interstate compact for juveniles, T. 49, C. 4B.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1997, p. 532, § 2, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the 1997 amendment to this Code section shall be applicable to willful and malicious acts occurring on or after July 1, 1997.

Law reviews.

- For article recommending more consistency in age requirements of laws pertaining to the welfare of minors, see 6 Ga. St. B. J. 189 (1969). For article surveying constitutional law, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 53 (1982). For article surveying recent developments in Georgia juvenile law, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 395 (1982). For note discussing the family purpose car doctrine as an extension of the principle of respondeat superior, see 3 Ga. St. B. J. 112 (1966). For note, "Tort Liability in Georgia for the Criminal Acts of Another," see 18 Ga. L. Rev. 361 (1984). For comment on Landers v. Medford, 108 Ga. App. 525, 133 S.E.2d 403 (1963), see 1 Ga. St. B. J. 229 (1964). For comment criticizing Corley v. Lewless, 227 Ga. 745, 182 S.E.2d 776 (1971), as to constitutionality of this section prior to 1976 amendment, see 23 Mercer L. Rev. 681 (1972). For comment on Corley v. Lewless, 227 Ga. 745, 182 S.E.2d 766 (1971), holding parental liability statute which formerly provided for unlimited liability of parents for willful torts of minor children on the basis of parent-child relationship violative of due process, see 9 Ga. St. B. J. 129 (1972).



  • General Consideration
  • Decisions Under Prior Law


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 59 Am. Jur. 2d, Parent and Child, § 88 et seq.


- 67A C.J.S., Parent and Child, § 329 et seq.


- Liability of parent for injury inflicted by minor child with dangerous instrumentality left accessible to him, 12 A.L.R. 812.

Liability of owner under "family-purpose" doctrine, for injuries by automobile while being used by member of his family, 64 A.L.R. 844; 88 A.L.R. 601; 100 A.L.R. 1021; 132 A.L.R. 981.

Infant's liability in tort for own act, or right to recover for another's tort, as affected by its connection with infant's contract, 127 A.L.R. 1441.

Automobile owner's common-law liability for negligence in entrusting car to known incompetent, reckless, or inexperienced person as affected by statute limiting owner's liability to use within terms of consent, 163 A.L.R. 1418.

Construction and effect of statutes which make parent, custodian, or other person signing minor's application for vehicle operator's license liable for licensee's negligence or willful misconduct, 26 A.L.R.2d 1320.

Liability of person permitting child to have gun, or leaving gun accessible to child, for injury inflicted by the latter, 68 A.L.R.2d 782.

Validity and construction of statutes making parents liable for torts committed by their minor children, 8 A.L.R.3d 612.

Modern status of family purpose doctrine with respect to motor vehicles, 8 A.L.R.3d 1191.

Parents' liability for injury or damage intentionally inflicted by minor child, 54 A.L.R.3d 974.

Liability of parent for injury caused by child riding a bicycle, 70 A.L.R.3d 611.

Liability of owner of powerboat for injury or death allegedly caused by one permitted to operate boat by owner, 71 A.L.R.3d 1018.

Liability of one who sells gun to child for injury to third party, 4 A.L.R.4th 331.

Criminal responsibility of parent for act of child, 12 A.L.R.4th 673.

Modern trends as to tort liability of child of tender years, 27 A.L.R.4th 15.

Construction and effect of statutes which make parent, custodian, or other person signing minor's application for vehicle operator's license liable for licensee's negligence or willful misconduct, 45 A.L.R.4th 87.

Jurisdiction or power of juvenile court to order parent of juvenile to make restitution for juvenile's offense, 66 A.L.R.4th 985.

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