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4-year-olds can be sued

Solace

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4-year old children can be sued and held responsible in civil courts in the US now. This is crazy.

Citing cases dating back as far as 1928, a judge has ruled that a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

“A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street,” the judge wrote. He added that any “reasonably prudent child,” who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there. The crucial factor is whether the parent encourages the risky behavior; if so, the child should not be held accountable.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/nyregion/29young.html
 

CriticalThought

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I think Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson just rolled over in their graves.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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...And to think scumbag lawyers and bonehead judges give benefits of the doubt to muggers, thugs and killers!
 

RightinNYC

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This is really not as controversial as some people are making it sound. If you're younger than 4, you're presumed not to have the mental capacity to be negligent. Above 4, you can be negligent. I think there's another age cutoff for intentional acts.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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Oh yeah, you're real mature and know what you're doing at 5 years old!

(Probably why they're taught how to have sex in some schools and can be found swearing like dockers too!)
 

Travelsonic

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This is really not as controversial as some people are making it sound.
Oh really? And how do arbitrary age markers set - to admission on PRESUMPTION - a good gauge for that?
 

RightinNYC

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Oh really? And how do arbitrary age markers set - to admission on PRESUMPTION - a good gauge for that?
Presumption that someone should be allowed to argue that a 4 year old was capable of being negligent =/= presumption that the 4 year old was negligent.

This is a threshold issue, not a decision on the merits.
 

Aunt Spiker

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I think it's legitimate.

She did die, after all - yes, not *directly* related to her injuries but it's quite common for one injury to open the door to many other ailments that lead to death in the elderly. Aside that - it DID fracture her hip and force her to go through surgery. *That* is a liability in itself - regardless of whether or not she eventually died.

Sidewalks, by the way, are NOT for biking on - they are for WALKING on.

I support the action - NOT necessary against the youth but their parents (who it should be directed against) to recoup the medical bills and other such costs that arose.

To suggest that this child or her parent couldn't be held liable for the injuries THEY caused would, then, lead to other situation in which a child - injured on a playground at school or in a fight - might not have legitimate legal recourse.
These other incidences between children happen *all the time* - and often lead to negotiations which might involve one parent paying the medical bills for the injured child if so ordered or decided.

If you've dealt with (directly or indirectly) commons issues such as: pets injuring others, your children injuring other children - and so on - and you feel those common issues are valid - then you should, also, support this ruling (I certainly do - and I've paid my share of dental and other bills).
 

RightinNYC

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I think it's legitimate.

She did die, after all - yes, not *directly* related to her injuries but it's quite common for one injury to open the door to many other ailments that lead to death in the elderly. Aside that - it DID fracture her hip and force her to go through surgery. *That* is a liability in itself - regardless of whether or not she eventually died.

Sidewalks, by the way, are NOT for biking on - they are for WALKING on.

I support the action - NOT necessary against the youth but their parents (who it should be directed against) to recoup the medical bills and other such costs that arose.

To suggest that this child or her parent couldn't be held liable for the injuries THEY caused would, then, lead to other situation in which a child - injured on a playground at school or in a fight - might not have legitimate legal recourse.
These other incidences between children happen *all the time* - and often lead to negotiations which might involve one parent paying the medical bills for the injured child if so ordered or decided.

If you've dealt with (directly or indirectly) commons issues such as: pets injuring others, your children injuring other children - and so on - and you feel those common issues are valid - then you should, also, support this ruling (I certainly do - and I've paid my share of dental and other bills).
Just to be clear, this ruling isn't about whether the child is in any way responsible for what happened. The only thing that this judge was addressing is whether a negligence action could even be brought against someone who was over 4 years old.

The question of whether or not the child was responsible (and if so, for what) will be addressed later.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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Sidewalks, by the way, are NOT for biking on - they are for WALKING on.
I can see the logic in that. If the kid was cycling on the road then we'd have seen the PERPETRATOR face the danger and not the VICTIM!

And if the kid did get killed then at least there wouldn't have been a long and fruitful lost life to mourn! I mean, what can a kid achieve at 4 years old?!
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Huh. So if you're not even 5, and you're unlucky enough to live in the loony bin that is New York, you're old enough to be found to be negligent in civil court and held accountable for that negligence.

Okay, then!

As far as I'm concerned, the appropriate response to this ruling was to thank the judge on behalf of pedophiles and credit card companies across New York for clarifying the point at which children can make conscious decisions for which they can be held responsible.

/thread
 

RightinNYC

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Huh. So if you're not even 5, and you're unlucky enough to live in the loony bin that is New York, you're old enough to be found to be negligent in civil court and held accountable for that negligence.

Okay, then!

As far as I'm concerned, the appropriate response to this ruling was to thank the judge on behalf of pedophiles and credit card companies across New York for clarifying the point at which children can make conscious decisions for which they can be held responsible.

/thread
That's really not what this decision is about.

Again, I think the minimal age threshold to advance a claim of negligence is between 4 and 7 years in every state. The ruling in this case is in no way out of the ordinary.

The fact that they can bring a claim does not mean that the child will be held responsible. The child's actions will be judged against those of a reasonable child of a similar age.

Moreover, saying that a child is capable of negligence is not the same as saying that that child can enter into binding contracts or consent to sex.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Having read this thread before I posted, I came to understand (or at least think I understand) what I did not understand before I read it -- that it was a "can we do this" question that got answered, not a "will or should we do this" question.

I also understand that there is some obscure technical argument for why a decision like this in no way impacts the age at which binding contracts may be signed or sex may be had consensually. Obscure technical arguments are what the legal system is all about.

My argument is that practically, in the real common-sense world, those things should be directly related. Negligence is essentially a failure to uphold your responsibilities under the social contract that we all enter into at birth and are held responsible for respecting as adults. If you can be held responsible for a breach of the social contract, then you're old enough to give consent to have sex or sign legal contracts.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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