Q: Can I file suit against my father for opening confidential mail addressed to myself.I am a 21 year old college student living Pa, I am originally from Ohio. I was recently in an auto accident and I had asked the police to send all paper work regarding the accident to my current address not the address on my Driver’s License. They ignored my request and sent it to my father house in Ohio. My father and step mother proceeded to open that paper without me knowing. They called me and harassed me regarding the accident. I am no longer or have been financially dependent on them and choose not to inform them on the accident due to this reason. Is there any legal action i can take to file suit against them for opening my confidential paperwork.
A: You need monetary damages, measurable economic harm to have been done as a result of a parent opening your mail. You didn’t mention any such damages. Secondly, you need liability. I am not sure a judge or jury will find a parent liable for opening mail in the family home which has been addressed to their child. This case would not generate much interest among lawyers and I would therefore advise you to just try to get along better with your parents. I don’t even believe a suit against the police would work, as they may have been using a prior, although incorrect, address and you would be deemed at fault for not updating your address with the post office or Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition, the law is often forgiving of mistakes when made in good faith. You should also be aware that if you are still covered by your parent’s motor vehicle insurance, most liability insurers require prompt notice of an accident, which would be more reason for your parents to open your mail.