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4 years olds can be sued? - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post
Ok, so even though this isn't a criminal issue, I just e-mailed my criminal law professor to see if she could explain the ultimate goal in suing the 4 yr. old. We were actually just studying about mens rea and the levels of Purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. I can see this act being negligence, but not on the part of the child, I see the mother as being negligent for allowing the child to ride fast on the sidewalk (yes, I know it's legal, but none the less, if anyone was negligent it was the mother). I can't see the child being negligent because for negligence the person has to comprehend that what they are doing could possibly cause harm. I don't think a child, at 4, has that ability. What's more is that I can't comprehend what the goal in suing a four year old is unless they can sue for future earnings. So I asked. Hopefully she answers me sometime tomorrow.
I'll be really interested to see the response to this. I have a 4 year old (although he's only 4 yrs 3 months). I do tell him to be careful, and would be horrified if something like this happened, but goodness, accidents do happen. What good could come from suing a little kid???
post #22 of 39
I'm guessing that the purpose of naming the children is on the chance that the parents are found somehow not at fault. I think under the right circumstances, the parents could be found not at fault for the fall. If you sue only the parents, then the plantiff would get nothing. However, its possible that the parents have no fault but the kids still do. If you sue the kids, you can lose against the parents win against the kids, and the parents still pay.

I'm thinking, for instance, say your normally well behaved child one day goes outside and accidentally throws his ball threw a window. You didn't tell him to do this, you weren't even there, and he's never harmed someones property before so you couldn't have known. It clearly NOT your fault that he threw a ball through the window. It is however HIS responsibility legally, even if it was an accident.

As far as a child knocking over the woman, some elderly people are more frail than others. If she was extremely unsteady on her feet, it might have only taken a small bump to knock her over. We cant really tell from the article.

I think in court, the lawyers will have to prove that the children knew they should not have been racing so fast etc. They'll probably bring in experts to talk about what is developmentally appropriate to expect of children their age. A lot of what a 4 year old knows is only what has been taught at home, so I think its a big leap to say ALL 4 year olds would know to look both ways, not race etc. At that age, if they haven't been directly taught, they just don't know. And even if they have been taught, 4 year olds do not think or reason like adults, and tend not to be able to equate action with consequence in the moment.
post #23 of 39
I wouldn't sue, but would be seriously pissed if I got ran over on the sidewalk by an out of control 4 year old.
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post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
Also, I want to add, I was at the store with my mother who walks with a cane. She got knocked over by some horrid kids who were running fast up and down the aisles. We asked them to stop, please watch out, but they would not stop. No parents were in sight. And then they knocked my mom over. They really creamed her. I mean, they were running at full speed and their parents did not care. My mom ended up in the hospital for months. I think it would have been great if she had sued the parents of those kids. Those kids and the parents of those kids never apologized, not once.
I see this all the time in my store. I do stop the kids and tell them that (a) they are not at the playground and (b) they need to stay with the adult(s) they are there with. If they continue, I take them to the adult(s) myself and tell the adult(s) that the children must be supervised in our store. If it still doesn't stop, I ask them to leave. We have a lot of older customers, and I don't want to see one of them injured by an un- or poorly supervised child.

In the posted situation, I think the two parents should be held accountable for their children's actions. A city sidewalk is not a place to play Tricycle Wars.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
Also, I want to add, I was at the store with my mother who walks with a cane. She got knocked over by some horrid kids who were running fast up and down the aisles. We asked them to stop, please watch out, but they would not stop. No parents were in sight. And then they knocked my mom over. They really creamed her. I mean, they were running at full speed and their parents did not care. My mom ended up in the hospital for months. I think it would have been great if she had sued the parents of those kids. Those kids and the parents of those kids never apologized, not once.
I can believe that It really shocks me what people will let their kids do in public. We were at Once Upon a Child and there was a woman with three kids who were terrorizing the store. I mean running, screaming, tearing stuff off the racks, running over people, taking the bikes and riding them around the parking lot, etc. It was horrible. The mom never once tried to stop them.

Suing the child seems pointless, though. But sure, if I was injured because a negligent parent let their kid hurt me to the point I had to go to the hospital, I'd see about suing to get those costs covered.
post #26 of 39
So if the kid is found liable, and the parents are not, what happens? How is a non trust fund kid to pay the compensation? Can they really expect the parents to pay it, when they were found innocent? Does the judgement sit there until the kid turns 18, and then they have to work to pay it?
post #27 of 39
If a child cannot be held liable for murder, because he is under age, then I don't see how a child can have a judgment sit until he is 18.
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle View Post
If a child cannot be held liable for murder, because he is under age, then I don't see how a child can have a judgment sit until he is 18.
Because criminal offenses are prosecuted differently (for both children and adults) than civil matters.

In addition, if a child murders someone, they most definitely do have records and penalties sit until they are 21 (and even beyond in some areas). They don't say to the murder victim's family, "Oh, so sad, too bad, neener neener" and walk away without penalty. True, in most states they will not face life in prison or the death penalty, but they DO pay a price.

If you cause an accident, injure someone in an accident, or damage property accidentally, you will be held liable, but you're not going to go to jail unless you were breaking the law (drunk, high, illegal driving). You may have liens placed against your property, have wage garnishment, ect in order to force you to pay your restitution--but you're not facing death row charges.
post #29 of 39
I understand the differences between criminal and civil matters, but it just doesn't seem to make sense sometimes.

And yes, some underage kids DO get away with crimes and the law says "neener neener" to the victim. Not for murder, but other crimes. This I know for a fact. My mother's home was broken into and burglarized by my nephew, another juvenile and an adult. They stole her jewelry and other items that were never recovered and caused major damage. NONE of them were made to pay her back in ANY way and NONE of them did any jail time. To me, that is saying to my mom, "Neener neener". And my mom cannot sue my nephew or the other former juvenile for civil damages since they were underage at the time. So...
How can you place a lien or have a judgment against a small child?
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle View Post
And yes, some underage kids DO get away with crimes and the law says "neener neener" to the victim. Not for murder, but other crimes. This I know for a fact. My mother's home was broken into and burglarized by my nephew, another juvenile and an adult. They stole her jewelry and other items that were never recovered and caused major damage. NONE of them were made to pay her back in ANY way and NONE of them did any jail time. To me, that is saying to my mom, "Neener neener". And my mom cannot sue my nephew or the other former juvenile for civil damages since they were underage at the time. So...
How can you place a lien or have a judgment against a small child?
So, given that your mom was hurt, and you seem angry about that, does that mean that every other person who is hurt by an underage person should have to suck it up too because your mom did? To me, causing someone bodily injury is just as severe, if not more so, than damaging property. Because you are angry that your mom didn't have recourse doesn't seem like a good reason to demand that nobody harmed by a child should have recourse.

The legal answer for how is simple. If you live in a state that allows minors to be sued for damages (and it doesn't seem clear to me that the judge followed the actual law in this case, from what I have read) then you can have a judgement against a child--which means that eventually, should they have a tangible asset at some point before the judgement is fulfilled, you can place a lien on it.

As to the "coulda/shoulda/woulda" question--I don't understand why people are assuming greed/malice on the part of the relatives of the victim. Perhaps I have a very jaded view, having dealt with many parents who refuse to make their children take responsibility for anything (or to take responsibility for their children)--but I can see a case where the parents just gave the victim's family the finger, and so the family is incensed and going full tilt in response. Not the most healthy response, or the most satisfying use of their time (IMO) but...I can certainly understand. OTOH, perhaps this arose out of some insurance bickering (parental liability insurance won't pay, victim health insurance won't pay or she was uninsured, ect). We don't really know. I'm just saying that I find the responses that seem to imply that if kids will be kids, and nobody is responsible for anything that they do very interesting. Interesting that this of course only applies to old ladies who dare to be walking along the sidewalk where kids ride bicycles, and not when one's kids are bullied/beat up/sexually harassed by other kids who may or may not "know better" and who are also minors.

If my children caused huge injury to someone, then you better believe that they would face consequences from ME at the very least. If they cause massive damage to someone or something, I really couldn't care less about what the law says, I expect them (and me, if my negligence and insufficient instruction led to the accident) to make restitution somehow. This very well could have happened in this case, but the elderly person's family refused to accept it and pressed on (it's not like that doesn't happen)--but IME it could have easily gone the other way, with the parents saying "So sue me, you shouldn't have gotten in the way, my kids aren't responsible and neither am I."
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
So, given that your mom was hurt, and you seem angry about that, does that mean that every other person who is hurt by an underage person should have to suck it up too because your mom did? To me, causing someone bodily injury is just as severe, if not more so, than damaging property. Because you are angry that your mom didn't have recourse doesn't seem like a good reason to demand that nobody harmed by a child should have recourse.

The legal answer for how is simple. If you live in a state that allows minors to be sued for damages (and it doesn't seem clear to me that the judge followed the actual law in this case, from what I have read) then you can have a judgement against a child--which means that eventually, should they have a tangible asset at some point before the judgement is fulfilled, you can place a lien on it.

As to the "coulda/shoulda/woulda" question--I don't understand why people are assuming greed/malice on the part of the relatives of the victim. Perhaps I have a very jaded view, having dealt with many parents who refuse to make their children take responsibility for anything (or to take responsibility for their children)--but I can see a case where the parents just gave the victim's family the finger, and so the family is incensed and going full tilt in response. Not the most healthy response, or the most satisfying use of their time (IMO) but...I can certainly understand. OTOH, perhaps this arose out of some insurance bickering (parental liability insurance won't pay, victim health insurance won't pay or she was uninsured, ect). We don't really know. I'm just saying that I find the responses that seem to imply that if kids will be kids, and nobody is responsible for anything that they do very interesting. Interesting that this of course only applies to old ladies who dare to be walking along the sidewalk where kids ride bicycles, and not when one's kids are bullied/beat up/sexually harassed by other kids who may or may not "know better" and who are also minors.

If my children caused huge injury to someone, then you better believe that they would face consequences from ME at the very least. If they cause massive damage to someone or something, I really couldn't care less about what the law says, I expect them (and me, if my negligence and insufficient instruction led to the accident) to make restitution somehow. This very well could have happened in this case, but the elderly person's family refused to accept it and pressed on (it's not like that doesn't happen)--but IME it could have easily gone the other way, with the parents saying "So sue me, you shouldn't have gotten in the way, my kids aren't responsible and neither am I."
Obviously, I was not clear in my posting, so I will try to explain further.

I do think that if a child damages something or hurts someone, the parents should be held liable. I do have a problem with someone suing a 4 yr old. We hear all of the time how teens should not be held liable for their actions, because they are not finished growing and their brains are not fully developed. So, in that sense, how the heck could a 4 yr old be held liable in such an accident? And have a judgment against her/him just waiting until she/he grows up and then they have to pay, when it is likely that child will not even REMEMBER what it is that he/she did. In that case, you sue the parent, not the child. IMHO.

However, I do not believe that should apply to a teen. I knew the difference between right and wrong by the time I was a teenager.

I was merely pointing out that teenagers sometimes DO get away without being held responsible for their actions. Even when it is a burglary and property damage being committed.

I think that the laws are skewed and that the juvenile justice system needs an overhaul.

So, if you wish to continue the flaming, carry on.
post #32 of 39
i agree with the judge. i agree with the spirit of the law that this has been brought up.

this probably is like the spilt hot coffee case against mcdonald. made a huge huplah when it first came out. the people were promised money. then mcd counter argued that so the people did not get any money. so truly that case didnt go anywhere. so this one too - i dont expect it to go anywhere either. it will be a 5 day wonder and then die down. this is just the beginning.

this is exactly what i tell my dd. whether it was a 2 year old, 4 year old, 14 year old or 40 year old - the 87 year old was knocked down, broken her hip and 3 weeks later was dead.

this case was just admitted.

The ruling by the judge, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward.

only that the mother was ‘supervising,’ a term that is too vague to hold meaning here,” he wrote.

dunno. how else can you make a big issue out of it.

at 4.75 my dd was old enough to understand her actions could hurt. that's why you dont play with fire. you are careful when you ... hopefully the mom will now be more vigilant.

the judge just allowed the case. we have no other proven information.

of course it is a ridiculous case. however what else could the plaintiff do.
post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
this probably is like the spilt hot coffee case against mcdonald. made a huge huplah when it first came out. the people were promised money. then mcd counter argued that so the people did not get any money.
She got money. I also think she deserved it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck...;s_Restaurants
post #34 of 39
I really don't understand the hostility towards the children. They were riding their bikes, that's what normal children do. It is normal to want to race with your friend. Under 5 is very little to me. I do agree that a child acting willfully aggressive should have a consequence, but a lawsuit is totally inappropriate. A child that age needs an immediate consequence to learn a lesson. Even if they have to pay out to the family it would be months or years later, how does that teach the child anything?

Besides I don't think the situation sounds like more than an accident. If my 5 year old neighbor was riding his bike on the sidewalk and ran into my toddler, but it was clearly an accident. I wouldn't expect him to be punished for it. The woman was an adult, she had just as much responsibility to watch for bike riding children (because she should have known its legal for them to be riding their bikes on the sidewalk there) as they have for watching out for her. Furthermore, she knows more about her physical limits than the young children do. Yes maybe they were just brats who had no respect for the other people on the sidewalk, but I think more likely they were just racing each other (totally normal 5 year old behavior) and didn't see the woman step out on the sidewalk until it was too late to stop. She probably got so hurt because of her age, even if they barely touched her, if the situation caused her to lose her balance and fall she easily could have broken her hip.

Also I think its important to point out again that according to the article posted by the OP the woman died 3 months after the incident, not 3 weeks and she died of a separate cause.
post #35 of 39
Butting in to say accidents happen. Not that they're fun, but they do happen. Also, having worked with the elderly, I know that their bones are often fragile. I know of people who fell because their leg/hip was already broken; the fall did not cause the fracture but was the result of it.

There needs to be less litigation and more forgiveness. Yes, the children should have been taught from the experience that they need to be careful, but to sue them? To expand it like this is nonsense.
post #36 of 39
And nowhere does it say that the woman was in clear view the whole time. Maybe she was coming from behind a mailbox or stepped out of a car or something. Nothing says she was visible in the middle of the sidewalk the whole time.
post #37 of 39
That would definitely be a factor in the accident, Irishmommy.
post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
She got money. I also think she deserved it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck...;s_Restaurants
THANKS!!!! i didnt know she got it. i remember that McD had taken her back to court and then things calmed down and it looked like she wasnt going to get any.

oh YEAH she deserved it. there had been 700-900 (the numbers vary) burn cases before hers.

i remember though that it lead McD to lower their temperature.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
So if the kid is found liable, and the parents are not, what happens? How is a non trust fund kid to pay the compensation? Can they really expect the parents to pay it, when they were found innocent? Does the judgement sit there until the kid turns 18, and then they have to work to pay it?
The judgment will remain until the children turn 18 and they have to begin paying. But, the judgment also gains interest for the years that it is not in repayment...
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