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Should Parents Be Accountable For The Acts Of A Child?

Should Parents Be Accountable For The Acts Of A Child?In July of this year, a sad case took a dramatic turn of events as one set of parents went to court against another family for wrongful death. In this case, two 14 year old teenagers went missing and now one family is blaming the other, and taking a definitive stance by going to court, suing for negligence and wrongful death.

What happened? How did it come to this?

A Trip Gone Wrong

This court case stems from an incident that took place two years ago, at the town of Jupiter Inlet, in the Palm Beach area. In July of 2015, 14 year old Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos left Jupiter Inlet alone and unsupervised on an 18’ craft headed for some pleasure cruising on the ocean. They never returned. A search was conducted for the teens and the boat they had left in, but while the boat itself was eventually found and recovered, the two teenage boys were never found.

Now, two years, later, Pamela Cohen, the mother of Perry is part of a lawsuit for negligence and wrongful death that is focused on the Stephanos family. In addition to the tragedy of the loss of both boys, the two families, once tightly drawn together, have now split apart, and the Cohens are claiming that this is due to the carelessness of the Stephanos family.

The Charges

Among the various arguments that the Cohen family and their accident lawyer are making, they are specifically citing that the Stephanos-owned boat that the boys used was not properly equipped for ocean travel, as it had no radio or another form of communication for the boys to use in the event of an emergency. They are also arguing that the Stephanos family knew the boys were headed out into the ocean by themselves and did nothing to stop them. And finally, they are claiming that this is the Cohen’s only remaining means of justice, as the police are not pressing charges against the Stephanos family.

This is a particularly challenging case since the person who may be responsible is also missing, but on top of that, the person in question was a minor. There can obviously be no happy or even satisfactory resolution in a wrongful death case such as this since even the family that is being sued for wrongful death has also lost their child.

Moving On

It’s clear, however, that for the Cohen family, this move towards a wrongful death lawsuit is more about closure than anything else. An accident lawyer and a civil suit can sometimes take the place of a prosecutor and a criminal sentence if the law decides that no criminal charges will be in play. At times, a civil suit may seem like the only way some kind of conclusive outcome can be had on what is otherwise a frustrating series of events that seems to be light on consequences. If you have any questions about wrongful death, negligence, and how to move forward with such a case in court, we can help. Contact us to find out more.