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Should you be able to sue a 4-year-old?
A New York judge ruled that a lawsuit against two tots who accidentally injured an old woman will be allowed to move forward. Does that make sense?
 
Last year two four year olds on bikes hit an 87-year-old woman who died of unrelated causes three months later.
Last year two four year olds on bikes hit an 87-year-old woman who died of unrelated causes three months later.
CC BY: Randen Pederson

The controversy: A pair of four-year-olds who knocked over an 87-year-old woman during a training wheel-assisted bicycle race are fair game to be sued for negligence, ruled a New York a judge last week. The woman suffered a broken hip in the 2009 incident and died of unrelated causes three months later. The judge has ruled that a "reasonably prudent" child of four could have "reasonably appreciated the danger of riding a bicycle into an elderly woman."
The reaction: This ruling "defies belief," says an editorial in the New York Daily News. Do we really want a judicial system which gives "credence to the most ludicrous claims imaginable"? This judge "needs a set of training wheels on his brain." As the mother of a five-year-old who "still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy," says Paula Bernstein at Babble, I'm not sure that even an intelligent pre-schooler understands the ramifications of her actions. Nor should the deceased woman's estate be suing little kids for what was clearly a "freak accident." Even so, kids: "Consider yourself on notice," says John Del Signore at Gothamist. Might be time to put some of that birthday money into a "legal defense fund."

 

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