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Pandora's avatar

Should justice require common sense?

Asked by Pandora (29652points) November 1st, 2010

I just read this article about a 4 year old being sued for running into an elderly lady.
Yes, this is a sad case. But are we to be held responsible for every accident that happens. Even when we do our best to prevent them.
If that is the case, than the old lady was a risk taker. She walked outside her doors.
Should we all be put in a glass bubble?
Isn’t an accident simply an accident. I’m sure the little girl had no intent in ramming into anyone and potentially hurting anyone. I once ran over hit a ditch and it slammed me into a pole. Should I sue the pole or the city for the ditch.

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12 Answers

SelfConsumingCannibal_IsBack's avatar

Of course, but it so rarely does. For example: OJ Simpson was found not guilty.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it depends on what the person is being sued for. I think it’s crazy that the child is being sued, but I could understand the parents being sued for unpaid medical expenses. Yes it was an accident, but the lady would not have incurred those medical expenses if that little girl didn’t run into her. (There’s actually a discussion about the little girl being sued here in case you want to see what else has been said about it.)

marinelife's avatar

It was two little boys, not a little girl. I think their parents should be (and are being) sued for the children’s injuring of the elderly woman.

I think it is asinine to allow the suing of four-year-olds.

Pandora's avatar

If I was in the jury and was allowed to give them something for damages than I would give them their payment in lolly pops.
Sue a 4 year old, than you should get a 4 year olds wage.
@Seaofclouds I do understand suing the parents for medical costs but I doubt that is all they are suing for. Especially since it is her estate that is suing. (Which probably means her insurance or the hospital that didn’t get all their money.)

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Pandora I agree with you about it being the estate that is suing and I’m curious what they are actually suing for. In the article I read about it originally, it said the estate is suing the two children and their mothers. I hope there is more coverage about it later on so we can get more details.

@marinelife, every article I read about it said it is a little girl (named Juliet) and a little boy (named Jacob).

weeveeship's avatar

Four elements of negligence:
A duty of care: usually present, except for in special circumstances (sporting events)
Breach of duty: probably there. if not, they could use res ipsa (event would not have happened without negligence, can sufficiently rule out other causes of the harm.)
Causation: But-for test: But for the girl hitting the old woman, the old woman would not have gotten injured and died.
Proximate cause: Foreseeable that racing could have hit someone. The girl could get off though if there was an intervening cause.
Damages: To be determined by the court.

Girl could assert defense that she was a minor. States might have statutes for lesser sentencing for minors.

Negligence by definition is an accident, but the little girl could get off without having to pay anything if she could disprove any of the four elements of negligence.

@Pandora By the way, you might have been able to sue the company with the pole, the city, and the road maintenance folks. There have been cases like that in the past. Your biggest obstacle would be contributory negligence (e.g. if you were driving over the speed limit)

Pandora's avatar

@weeveeship I was riding my bike. Hit the pocket when turning a corner and hit the pole. Sad thing is I know I could have, but I accept that things can happen that is sometimes beyond reasonable control. Had I been driving and someone had reported a huge hole to the city before my accident, than, I can see where they were being negligent. However, I realize the city can’t be informed about every little hole. And if the city was a 4 year old, that all I can expect may be lollypops or a doll as payment.
In one of the articles, it was said that her death was not a result of the accident. Which probably means they knew she was dying of other causes.

wundayatta's avatar

Common sense don’t always make sense. Justice should rely on hard data and established principles. Also, everyone should have their day in court. This case may soon be dismissed. If not, perhaps it has some merit we don’t know about.

6rant6's avatar

I believe the point behind “strict liability” is for all of us to weigh not just the benefit and risk to ourselves but the benefit and risk to others before we act.

In an ideal world, if your action injured someone else, and you were forced to compensate them APPROPRIATELY then, the theory goes, we would make better decisions.

Unfortunately, the cost of gaining compensation involves the courts, so the transaction cost well outweigh the benefits to injured parties or society. [In the mythical “old days” the injuring parent would have taken a coffee cake and profuse apologies over to salve the injuries]

But to say you shouldn’t have recourse to compensation is a problem too. Suppose that four year old was one of octomom’s and they were always in loose in front of the house. Every time that old woman stepped out her door, she faced the prospect of being knocked over. Don’t you think she deserves to be compensated when the inevitable happens? Or are you saying SHE should be imprisoned by what her neighbors are doing?

The problem with saying, “Common sense” is that it implies that all problems can be reduced to a few key words and a few rules. Life is complicated; to pretend that it’s not is to bury your head and be less human than you might be.

Pandora's avatar

@6rant6 Good points.

flo's avatar

So, I think some judges need to be removed from the bench.

flo's avatar

Is the child is going on to be on the stand? If not the wording is wrong.

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