4 years olds can be sued? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-30-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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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.

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Old 10-30-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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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
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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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.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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That would definitely be a factor in the accident, Irishmommy.
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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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.

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Old 10-31-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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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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