6 in the courts search for a uniform standard of

Info icon This preview shows pages 55–57. Sign up to view the full content.

[6] In the courts' search for a uniform standard of behavior to use in determining whether or not a person's conduct has fallen below minimal acceptable standards, the law has developed a ficti- tious person, the “reasonable man of ordinary prudence.” That term was first used in Vaughan v. Menlove, 132 Eng.Rep. 490 (1837). [7] Exceptions to the reasonable person standard developed when the individual whose con- duct was alleged to have been negligent suffered from some physical impairment, such as blindness, 232
Image of page 55

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

deafness, or lameness. Courts also found it necessary, as a practical matter, to depart considerably from the objective standard when dealing with children's behavior. Children are traditionally en- couraged to pursue childhood activities without the same burdens and responsibilities with which adults must contend. See Bahr, Tort Law and the Games Kids Play, 23 S.D.L.Rev. 275 (1978). As a result, courts evolved a special standard of care to measure a child's negligence in a particular situa- tion. [8] In Roth v. Union Depot Co., 13 Wash. 525, 43 P. 641 (1896), Washington joined “the overwhelming weight of authority” in distinguishing between the capacity of a child and that of an adult. As the court then stated, at page 544, 43 P. at page 647: “It would be a monstrous doctrine to hold that a child of inexperience and experience can come only with years should be held to the same degree of care in avoiding danger as a person of mature years and accumulated experience.” [9] The court went on to hold, at page 545, 43 P. at page 647: “The caution required is ac- cording to the capacity of the child, and this is to be determined, ordinarily, by the age of the child. ‘. . . a child is held . . . only to the exercise of such degree of care and discretion as is reasonably to be expected from children of his age.” [10] In the past we have always compared a child's conduct to that expected of a reasonably careful child of the same age, intelligence, maturity, training and experience. This case is the first to consider the question of a child's liability for injuries sustained as a result of his or her operation of a motorized vehicle or participation in an inherently dangerous activity. [11] Courts in other jurisdictions have created an exception to the special child standard be- cause of the apparent injustice that would occur if a child who caused injury while engaged in cer- tain dangerous activities were permitted to defend himself by saying that other children similarly situated would not have exercised a degree of care higher than his, and he is, therefore, not liable for his tort. Some courts have couched the exception in terms of children engaging in an activity which is normally one for adults only. See, e. g ., Dellwo v. Pearson, 259 Minn. 452, 107 N.W.2d 859 (1961) (operation of a motorboat). We believe a better rationale is that when the activity a child en- gages in is inherently dangerous, as is the operation of powerful mechanized vehicles, the child should be held to an adult standard of care.
Image of page 56
Image of page 57
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern