Lawsuit of the Day, Old People

4-year-old Speed Racer Gets Sued

I already mentioned this in Morning Docket, but the issue deserves a full post. A little girl of 4-years-old barreled her bike into an old lady on a Manhattan sidewalk.

The 87-year-old woman broke her hip, and subsequently died.

Despite being just four-years-old at the time of the accident, State Supreme Court judge Paul Wooten ruled that a negligence suit could go forward against the child. Apparently, children under four are presumed to be incapable of negligence, but if you are over four you are capable of being an idiot.

So we’ve got a 4-year-old, an 87-year-old, a bike with training wheels, and the sidewalks of New York. Where do your sympathies lie?

As is my wont, I’m able to see stupidity all over the place:

The kid: I live on the upper eastside, and one thing I’ve learned about street urchins is that they have no spatial awareness. At least, that’s what the little dodgers would like you to believe. Thing is, they always seem to run into foot traffic as opposed to car traffic. So clearly, they know something about keeping their own bodies out of harm’s way, they just don’t particularly care about yours. Screw ’em, they know damn well that their head is at the level of your crotch when they start aiming for you from half a block away.

The kid’s mother: She allowed her children to race bicycles on E. 52nd street in Manhattan. Memo to mom: Move out to the suburbs if you want your kids to play outside! Seriously. I’m getting sick of these selfish parents who want to keep their Manhattan lifestyles, yet also want their kids to have normal childhood memories. You want to raise kids in a kid friendly environment, move to the ‘burbs like everyone else. You want to maintain your swank Manhattan address, then it’s time to get little Johnny a gym membership and cart the little rascal to Central Park on the weekends. You can’t have it all, sorry.

The elderly woman: Move your blooming ass, old ladies of New York.  Things happen fast in the big city. If you are too old to react at the speed required by New York City, we have a place for you. It’s called FLORIDA. We’re talking about the busiest city in the world, we can’t all just stop so you can take four minutes creakily plod down the subway steps. If you can’t dodge a little girl on a bike — with training wheels — coming right towards you, you are too old to live in Manhattan.

So yeah, I kind of wish all these people weren’t living in my city. But I tolerate them, because I’m cosmopolitan like that. But since I see a bunch of people who all should have done a better job of being New Yorkers, I’m inclined to believe no legal action should be taken.

That’s just me. Who do you think is the most culpable New Yorker in this fact pattern?

Which New Yorker is most at fault?

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4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case [New York Times]
4-Year-Old Not Too Young to Get Sued, Manhattan Judge Rules [WSJ Law Blog]

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