Monday, November 1, 2010
Should Four Year-Old Speed Demons Be Held Accountable?
Is it ever too early to learn about our legal system? How about to learn the lesson that street racing kills? LINK. Perhaps that was the dilemma faced by Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhhattan when he ruled that a six year old girl can be sued for injuring an 87 year old woman with her bicycle with training wheels. The child struck the elderly woman while racing her bicycle on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago when she was only four. The judges's ruling indicates that the then four year old may be held accountable for negligence. The ruling did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permits the woman's estate to pursue a lawsuit against the child, another boy and their parents.
In April of 2009, Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, were playful four year-old toddlers. Now they, along with their mothers, Dana Breitman and Rachel Kohn, are litigants. How? At some point while racing down East 52nd Street, a bicylce struck 87-year-old Claire Menagh. Claire apparently suffered a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later of unrelated causes. The four year old was riding either a small bicycle with training wheels or a tricycle. The estate is pursuing the claim for damages presumably to recoup some of the decedent's medical costs. While such litigation may be possible, is it a good idea? Should kids even younger than four (like the one photographed above and to the right) be held responsible for "getting a little sideways?" Afterall, things can get pretty wreckless around the holidays. You be the judge... and don't forget to vote!