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Managing Risks as [Doctor] Parent

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Kids Create Substantial Risks for 

[Physician] Parents!

IKE

A Special ME-P Report

[By Ike Devji JD]

The number of ways that children are creating substantial risks for their [physician] parents is at an all-time high as many parents are unfortunately aware; as we begin 2016. Increased defensive planning or education by most parents despite increasingly common litigation for this vicarious liability has not increased commensurately with this risk.

Some of you believe that your kids are better behaved, smarter, and more sensible than those we hear about in the news. Such exposures are unpredictable and often arise from mundane activities you never imagined could be so serious.

Part of the discussion we encourage [physician] parents to have with their children includes a detailed explanation of the fact that you as a parents are personally financially and legally responsible (up to the level of criminal liability) for any harm, damage, or loss cause by their minor children.

Example:

In one example; a successful physician left town for the weekend with his wife, and his 17-year-old daughter threw a party at their home in a pattern repeated in nearly city in the country every weekend. Tragically, a teenager whom she had never met before crashed the party and died after he overdosed on drugs he brought with him resulting is a lawsuit against the young lady’s parents that sought damages in excess of three million dollars. Neither the young lady, nor her parents, nor anyone else in the tony private-school community of gated homes imagined that something like could happen in their nice neighborhood and the resulting claim was in excess of the limits of the homeowner’s liability policy the family had in place. Dozens of other parentally liability exposures seen over the years have come from much more mundane issues.

Negligent Supervision and Negligent Entrustment

Two ways liability is linked back to parents include negligent entrustment (providing the means or access to things or situations where some reasonably anticipatable harm occurs) and negligent supervision (basically infers that the harm would not have occurred if the minor had been properly supervised). This liability extends to others that have custody or are entrusted with supervision, so any guardian is at risk if the harm would have been prevented absent the access to the thing that created the harm and/or inadequate supervision. It also creates potential liability for you for the children of others you have custody of, even overnight for a slumber party.

Some Specific Recurring High Risk Issues:

  1. Automobiles: Minor children must be specifically named and insured on any vehicle they drive. Parents are generally liable for what minors do behind the wheel, permitted or not. If they are irresponsible drivers or if they take the car without permission you must take control of the car and treat it like a loaded weapon that’s pointed at everything you own and possibly their very own survival. Your high school senior cutting class with her friends and piling them into your car to go to Starbucks for “ditch day” is remarkably less charming when, for instance, she loses control of the vehicle on the way back to school and two of her passengers are critically injured as happened in one recent case. Thanks to commonly available and inexpensive software and tracking devices, not to mention the tracking software on your kid’s iPhones you can know where they and your vehicle are at all times.

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  1. Access to Firearms and Other Dangerous Items: If you have guns in your home (or bows and arrows, ATVs, jet skis, a swimming pool, prescription drugs, or anything else that can be misused) you are legally and financially responsible for not only personal injury and property damage but in some states and fact patterns even criminal liability for the actions of your child and his friends. The cost of defense counsel alone could be financially fatal considering the possibility of someone getting injured or killed and the resulting liability and consequences.

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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