Although the age at which a child becomes capable of negligence was brought into question, a N.Y. judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a 4-year-old.
According to The New York Times, 4-year-old Juliet was racing her bicycle against another child, when the pair struck an elderly woman. The 87-year-old suffered a broken hip that required surgery. She died three weeks later.
The woman’s estate sued the two children and their mothers, who were present at the time of the incident, for negligence. Juliet’s lawyer argued that she was too young to be held liable, and sought to have the case against her dismissed.
Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected the motion. Citing a case from 1928, he wrote, “infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence. Juliet, however, was over the age of 4 at the time of the subject incident. For infants above the age of 4, there is no bright-line rule.”