2022 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 (2022)
  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.

History. 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.

History of Code section.

Georgia Laws 1976, p. 511, § 2 entirely superseded the former section which was held unconstitutional in Corley v. Lewless, 227 Ga. 745 , 182 S.E.2d 766 (1971), insofar as it made parents liable without limits for willful torts of their children which resulted in personal injury.

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 comment on Landers v. Medford, 108 Ga. App. 525 , 133 S.E.2d 403 (1963), see 1 Ga. St. B. J. 229 (1964).

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 article recommending more consistency in age requirements of laws pertaining to the welfare of minors, see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 189 (1969).

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).

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 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, “Tort Liability in Georgia for the Criminal Acts of Another,” see 18 Ga. L. Rev. 361 (1984).

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