Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Ohio

Financial responsiblity for a child not my own

I live with a man who has residential custody of his 16 year old son. The boy has psychological problems and sometimes outbursts. (He punches things and has tried to hit people.) So far there have been no charges brought against him, but if he does hit, maim, or kill someone, am I legally responsible and can I be sued because I live in the house with him? I know his Father could be held accountable, but could I be? I have NO legal rights to this boy. He is taking medications (Wellbutrin and Abilify) and seeing a therapist. The boy's diagnosis is Asperger's syndrome.

Asked on 1/29/04, 12:39 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Steven Martinek Steven Martinek Lawyer Ltd.

Re: Financial responsiblity for a child not my own

If you have an ownership interest in the house, or if you have significant assets, you would likely be named in such a suit. If any supervisory authority over this minor were either delegated to you, or assumed by you, that might support some liability. If you were shown to have knowledge that he was not taking his meds, or was taking other drugs or substances which made him dangerous despite his meds, you might be deemed to have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect others from potential harm. Depending upon the circumstances, you may have a duty to share your concerns with his father, or his doctor, or the police. While a finding of liability and an award of damages should not be seen as likely, it is prudent for you to be concerned.

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Answered on 1/29/04, 1:07 pm

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