4-year-old sued for negligence

29Oct10

Manhattan is a funny place. I lived there for a lot of years. One of the things you come to accept is you could step off the curb and die at any moment. That’s part of the thrill of living there—it’s a tiny island jammed full of people scattering around at all hours, getting angry in the summer heat, driving like lunatics, tourists gawking at the tops of buildings instead of the people in front of them trying to get to work. Things are going to happen.

It’s also brimming with money, which means people get crazy over the stuff that most of us accept as the hassles and tragedies inherent in life.

So I’m not surprised to see a judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a 4-year-old girl for negligence. She was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk and collided with an 87-year-old woman who fractured her hip, had surgery and died three months later.

Manhattan is a hard place for kids. There’s not a lot of room for them to run and there’s even less room on the sidewalks for them to ride their bikes. And they don’t pay much attention to people other than themselves. That’s the reality of a New York sidewalk, whether it’s right or not.

When you mix modes, you’re going to have accidents, especially when children and the elderly are involved. Kids and adults alike ride their bikes on the sidewalks of New York because there is no other place for them to go. I don’t even want to consider the idea of whether a four-year-old can be found to have been negligent because it’s a detour into the absurd. The question we should be asking is why we don’t have a dedicated space in the city for people on bicycles, including our children.

(N.B. The Times article originally said she died three weeks later and implied the hip surgery was the catalyst, but has since been updated to say “three months later of unrelated causes.”)

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226 Responses to “4-year-old sued for negligence”

  1. Wow – sounds like dangerous territory. It’s a sad story.

  2. That’s ridiculous…it’s a 4-year-old!! I can’t believe they would even allow this in court.

    http://www.runtobefit.wordpress.com

  3. Yikes. This was a tragic accident, but holding a four year old responsible is even more tragic. I’m wondering if that ruling will stand.

  4. 4 shatterboxvox

    I think it is a teachable moment for the child.

    Lessons to be learned:

    1. Fear and distrust old people. They are bitter, angry and greedy.
    2. Fear and distrust lawyers. They are bitter, angry and greedy.
    3. Fear and distrust American culture. It is bitter, angry and greedy.

    • Please name one other culture that is not bitter, angry and greedy. Bitter, angry and greedy describes human beings past the age of 12.

      • No, that describes Americans. Clearly, you have not traveled extensively.

      • Also under the age of twelve. 8 year olds can be very cynical.

      • 8 jelzmar

        I’m not bitter, angry or greedy.

      • Nooo, bitter, angry, and greedy describes a newborn baby until he/she dies. Come on, what’s more bitter, angry, and greedy than a newborn baby crying for milk? Or a three year old screaming for candy?

    • Hey, I’m a lawyer and I’m only bitter and angry – definitely not greedy. Of course it’s because I’m a government lawyer who can’t afford to be greedy. I think that means I’m just power-hungry? Let’s hope this little girl gives ’em hell (and also that she’s not 87 before this thing goes to trial).

    • In fairness, she’s being sued by the estate, not the old person she injured. So it’s really the estate that’s bitter, angry and greedy 🙂

  5. and if the child is found guilty, what then? absurd.

  6. I am hoping that the trial judge will be guided by the standard of care common to the average reasonable 4 year old… in as much as the word “reasonable” can be applied at that age. Reading the article, though, I suspect mom is in some deep trouble.

  7. 18 knightstrikehero

    Here is something I am surprised no one has brought up yet: why was a 4 year old girl riding a bike unsupervised on the streets of New York City?! Where were her parents?! If you ask me, those are the negligable people!

    • There it is, I was wondering if anybody was going to say it. BLAME THE PARENTS! Haha, because accidents don’t happen.

    • Clearly you didn’t read the article: the girl and a friend were riding their bikes under the supervision of their mothers.

      And have you ever been to Manhattan? These are the kinds of accidents that happen when you have a population density of 71 000 people per square mile.

      To put that into scale for you: imagine Quest Field in Seattle full and then some (cap. 67000) and all of those people living within a 10 minute walk from the stadium.

      Get the idea?

      Shit happens. Is it right?

      Nope.

      Is it right to find a 4 year old girl legally liable for it? And her parents?

      Nope.

      Is it a terrible situation for everyone involved?

      Yup.

      When was the last time you got nailed in the balls by a 4 year old? And if you did, what did you do after? Punch the kid’s lights out?

      4 year olds do unwise things; it’s what they do. ‘Cause they’re 4.

      Don’t confuse justice with retribution because they are definitely not the same thing.

      Judge should have ruled it accidental death and be done with it.

      So don’t go off all half-cocked, ya’ll.

    • 23 blessed

      Neglected girl, that’s what i thought …

  8. 24 joshsuds

    Hmm I suppose that the suit is really about the negligence of the mothers rather than the child. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a very good idea for mothers to have their kids riding bikes on 52nd street. That’s a very busy part of the city. Seems pretty dangerous for both the kids and other people on the sidewalk. But the suit still seems excessive.

    https://joshsuds.wordpress.com

    • I agree with you – the kid may not be old enough to reasonably be held responsible, but the parents should have known better. I find it annoying enough that I have to tolerate other people’s kids’ horrific behavior in public. I’d hate to think that the poor parenting could result in my death and they wouldn’t be held accountable for it. 4 is definitely too young, but the parents should be sued for negligence.

      • 26 Jim Hagen

        Both of you are exactly right on!

      • 27 jelzmar

        If you both would read the article it clearly states that: No, it is not against the parents, but against the children. No,the lady did not die because of the incident, but of “unrelated causes three months later”

        And it was outside the building that they lived at. Where else are four year olds supposed to ride their bikes? That’s where I learned how to ride my bike. You can’t go anywhere else without getting run over by everyone else that already know how to ride bikes.

        The parents weren’t negligent. They were standing right there. What are they supposed to do? Run behind the kids as they ride to stop them immediately before they hit anything? It was an accident. Those happen all of the time. Can I sue my parents becuase I fell off my bike and scrapped my knee. No, it’s not their fault I fell off my bike when I was learning to ride it. That’s stupid.

        First people blame parents for letting their children play video games all the time and complain that they shouldn’t have everything they have these days. That they should go outside and play more. Then they complain about how they should be outside in the first place? It’s an adult world and children don’t belong in it? Make up your minds people.

        Why isn’t it the old ladies fault? She old enough that she should be able to look around her and determine that maybe I shouldn’t walk in the path of two four year olds riding bikes. If she isn’t of the mental capacity any longer to look around her, maybe she shouldn’t walking around on very busy New York streets as you called them. I would say that two four year olds on bikes are a lot less dangerous than say muggers? Adults on cellphones that aren’t paying attention or cars maybe?

        If she had no problem walking around cars, joggers and everything that you have to encounter on New York streets everyday. It makes it hard to believe that she couldn’t step out of the way of a tricycle or look both ways herself before crossing through a busy area. Unless, it was outside a doorway and she had just stepped out or the kid deliberately hit her.

        They didn’t say how it happened. So, I presume it was an accident on both their parts. Plus, the lady died of unrelated causes. Who is even doing the suing? Did she start it to help to pay for her medical expenses before she died? Or is her family doing it after her death just to get the money? Plus, where was her guardian? If she isn’t fast enough to quickly get out of the way, why wasn’t anyone there to help her as she went on a walk through the city. Aren’t they neglecting her. I wouldn’t let my grandmother of 91 walk around New York city alone. Though, I also would trust my grandmother to be able to get out of the way of bicycles, I don’t trust adults in the city.

  9. This shouldn’t have even gotten to the courtroom. A 4 year old is hardly old enough to comprehend what they even did. Yes, it’s sad that the lady died, but her family needs to realize the kid had no intentions of hurting anybody. Suing a 4 year old is worse than what the kid did. Shame on the relatives for suing and shame on the government for allowing it.

  10. I was nervous about hitting “like” above — I do not, after all, like that I live in a society where a 4-year-old is negligent for unwittingly causing the death of an elderly person.

    I do, however, like the insight.

    And I really REALLY LIKE that I do not live in Manhattan.

    🙂

  11. I recently visited Manhattan and i think anyone who chooses to live in that place is at least a little insane — including my friends i was there to visit.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  12. 31 elizabethre

    How very sad and traumatic for the little girl. Not only is she considered the killer in the death of the old lady, but now she is facing a court trial. What on earth is this world coming to? Whoever is suing the child should rethink their position. Was the 87 year old, obviously frail lady, out on her own? Who was supervising her? Did she have poor eyesight? Was she dull of hearing? Had she had previous fractures?

    I’m hoping those pressing the lawsuit come to their senses.

  13. Is it just me, or is this lawsuit basically admitting that 4 year olds are more responsible than 87 year olds?

    • 33 Marita

      Well put! And to reitterate for everybody THE LADY DIED OF UNRELATED CAUSES!!! Perhaps the lady came around from the corner. How is a 4 year old supposed to know that this could happen? They need training on stopping and looking and then going. Even so, as someone who has worked with children for nearly half their lives I say that they can’t do it when its a real situation, no matter HOW MANY times you tell them beforehand. Their brain is still developing!!! The 87 year old could have looked, too, and then moved. Now lets say she was too old to move quick enough, just like a 4 year old does not know how fast to stop. THE WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH COMMON SENSE NOT TO GO OUT ON HER OWN IF SHE CAN’T GET OUT OF THE WAY IN TIME!!!

  14. This is sad and an abuse of the ability to sue. The child is four years old. Good grief.

  15. That’s sad and awfully striking. I love New York, going there anyway. I recently met someone who lived there for a while. She said New York can be great, just not when you’re raising a family. This story would back her up on that a bit.

  16. Very funny indeed, and very sad. I suppose that the child’s parents have been named as defendants as well. I wonder how it will turn out. There is too much personal liability placed on everyone for everything in this country. On the other hand, chaos is likely if liability goes too far in the other direction. It’s a balance that is difficult to maintain.

  17. I find myself in agreement with many of the people above who, I think, see this as a bucnh of nonsense…which it is.

    To the judge I say: GET A GRIP, JERK! A four year old is NOT old enough to understand that she did anything wrong!

    • Correction: A 4 year old is old enough to understand AFTER she did something wrong–such as it’s a bad thing to run into people with your bike. However, to find her negligent would be to suggest she could realize beforehand and have enough control over her bike to avoid hitting whatever was in her path. Still nonsense none the less.

  18. 40 lc

    If Judge Paul Wooten wishes to send a message here, he shot himself in the foot. Which is too bad. I don’t know whether or not 87-year-old Claire Menagh was a lifelong New York resident, but considering that she was still in midtown at the time of her demise, that’s very likely. She deserved better than such a painful, traumatic and ultimately insulting death, ultimately caused by the negligence of irresponsible yuppie mothers who were most likely too engrossed in conversation about their yoga classes, their favorite $10 cupcake bakery, or Sex & the City reruns, to keep an eye on their kids while they ran amok. It would be nice if Menagh’s estate won a hefty judgment. Sad to say that probably won’t happen here.

    But it is nice to see the judiciary siding with a pedestrian for a change. In New York, when pedestrians are killed by vehicles, charges are only brought when a driver is clearly intoxicated.

    • Well put! This should be a wake up call to lazy mothers everywhere – pay attention to your kids’ behavior, because no one else should have to pay for your crappy parenting.

    • “ultimately caused by the negligence of irresponsible yuppie mothers who were most likely too engrossed in conversation about their yoga classes, their favorite $10 cupcake bakery, or Sex & the City reruns, to keep an eye on their kids while they ran amok.”

      I’d like to bring your attention to a couple of literary fallacies I was just reminded of so clearly:

      Hasty Generalization Fallacy- a speaker jumps to a general conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence

      Judgmental Language Fallacy- insulting or pejorative language to influence the recipient’s judgment

      Cherry Picking Fallacy- act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position

      Appeal to Ridicule Fallacy- a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by presenting the opponent’s argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous

      I should send your presumptuous and biased little rant to my college English professor. I’m sure he would be grateful for such a textbook-perfect example of so many of the literary fallacies which absolutely destroy their writer’s credibility.

    • 44 jack haveman

      There are a lot assumptions here. The child may not have been running amok. We are not told how fast she was going. The unfortunate lady may have been crashed into, or maybe she just tripped over a little girl on a bike because she didn’t see her. Her parents could have been standing right there,next to her, watching. One should not bring the spoiled child and indulgent parent stereotypes into the equation. Laying blame and pointing fingers will not bring the poor lady back. As for those who started the lawsuit, it would seem that they were just waiting for something to happen so they could capitalize on it. At 87, unfortunately, her days were numbered. If we can lay blame every time someone dies I would think the court system would be rather overwhelmed. Maybe that is what the lawyers want; job security.
      It must be comforting for Ic and their ilk to be so perfect that nothing of this nature could ever happen to them. I would have one piece of advice though. Stay alert. One second of inattention could change your life forever.

  19. 45 TEVG

    Grew up in Jersey, so I’m tempted to say Only In New York . . would a 4 years old get sued by a “New Yawk Lawyer”.

  20. I really don’t even know what to say about this… To be honest, I don’t think kids at that age understand the concept of old bodies and death…maybe some do. But if they haven’t experienced the loss of a loved one (or have and did not understand it), then how can they appreciate that their actions could really harm another individual until they witness it occurring? This is a tough one…

  21. The real target of the lawsuit are the parents. It’s quite standard strategy for a plaintiff to include as many defendants as possible, so why not the girl who rode the bike herself?
    Allowing a lawsuit to go forward against someone does not provide any indication as to whether the suit has merit and a chance of success.

    • 51 jschancellor

      Why not include the girl who rode the bike? Because she’s four. Because she isn’t capable of fully understanding her actions and therefore will likely be found, by a psychiatrist, incompetent to stand trial anyway. Thus it’s irresponsible to include her in the suit (because it does more harm than good) and frankly, pointless.

      Yes, you’re right, it doesn’t provide any clear indication as to whether the suit has a chance of success, but it does indicate some measure of validity and merit. It measures the strength of the accusation, not the outcome of a trial.

      This would be no different than including someone who was significantly (via clinical validation) mentally handicapped in a suit where he/she ran into the old woman and initiated the same unfortunate series of events.

      Just because you can, legally, doesn’t mean you should.

  22. That is absurd. What is even more ridiculous is all the NYT readers that agree with the judges decision (see comments on article)! What has happened to common sense?

    • 53 urbanbodhisattva

      I definitely agree! The comments were far more disturbing to me than anything else. I’m sad about a world where people think it is wrong and dangerous for a four year old, a tiny little person, to laugh and ride a tiny bike around, or when a child’s misbehavior (which happens to the best of us) is seen as horrific and all the parent’s fault.

  23. 56 Nicole

    Wow. Where was the parent? A 4-year old can’t be legally responsible – just plain stupid.

    But I’m really sick of hearing cyclists justify riding on the sidewalk becuase it isn’t safe on the streets. I’m sorry it isn’t safe on the streets – truly. Bicycles are healthier than cars, more environmentally-friendly, more economically-friendly – all around good things for society. But the answer to being in danger isn’t to put someone else in danger! Wear safety gear, take bad drivers to court, advocate for yourself, etc. But don’t put someone else in danger.

    A child riding a bike isn’t going anywhere, anyway. It’s for the fun of it, not transportation. So why isn’t she in a park doing that?

    • 57 Nicole

      P.S. I don’t mean the child was “just plain stupid” but the court ruling! 😛

    • If it’s that dangerous why don’t you have bike paths beside the sidewalks we have them here in ontario, canada.

      • 59 Nicole

        Some places in Ontario have bike paths, but it’s not consistently widespread. The arguments against it are basically economic – either streets need to be widened, or a car lane is lost.

  24. I’d suggest that getting haughty about negligent parents in this case is the same as admitting you’ve never raised a child, let alone dealt with a four-year-old riding a bike on a Manhattan sidewalk.

    My five-year-old twins ride their bikes on the sidewalk in Manhattan on a regular basis, including to school most mornings. They know how to stay right, hold a line, slow for congestion, dismount at crosswalks, cross in a safe formation, and ring their bells when more-or-less appropriate, and when they forget, Daddy’s right there to yell at them. I’m about as far from negligent as you can get.

    However–it’s New York City. There’s not room enough for everyone, and accidents really are sometimes accidents. I constantly teach, order, question, shout, and browbeat my little cyclists into being good bike citizens, but a child is not a trained parakeet. If you don’t understand the distinction, I’d suggest you don’t have any business throwing around accusations of negligence and expensive cupcake fixation when you weren’t there to see what happened.

    Holding a four-year-old liable is just idiotic.

    • I think this is the best comment I’ve read yet! Thank you. I wish I had seen this before I yelled at “Ic” for his silly assumptions about ten dollar cupcakes, because you said it far better than I did 🙂

  25. 62 jeff

    1. Sue child
    2. go to court
    3.?????
    4. profit

    • This is what I was just thinking. Not only this is beyond ridiculous, but do you know the cost of a trial over this ball of crap!!! I’m sure this child is traumatized enough by the fact that she ran into an old lady, now she needs to go through the legal system. Insanity! Like someone said earlier, if she loses, what’s her punishment? If I’m not mistaken you can’t even be in juvie if you’re any younger than 7. Don’t quote me on that one! So the judge is going to give her house arrest for a month with an ankle monitoring…LOL! Hey its sounds just as ridiculous as the suit itself!

  26. Well I am sure the party who is bringing the lawsuit will eventually go after the parents for removing the training wheels as well as the bike manufacturer for making a vehicle that can be driven on sidewlks, after all if the 4 year-old was driving a car, it would have been on the street and not the siewalk. Only in America folks.

    Ava

  27. 65 Scott

    Seems silly and like it wouldn’t hold up in court.

    It was clearly an accident unless somebody can prove he did it purposely.

    *shrugs*

  28. It may be a legally correct decision, but that doesn’t make it right. Cognitively the child is too young to know, remember, or reason the outcome of her “decision” to race down the sidewalk where they were playing/having fun in an adandoned, carefree manner, just like children in the suburbs do. It’s a shame they have to ride their tricycles on the sidewalk because they live in a city and the streets are too dangerous. It was an accident, and tragic. We need to stop trying to lay blame every time an accident occurs. However, in this case, I feel the mothers are responsible for their children/children’s behavior as the children are minors. The court decision to allow a four year old to be charged is just another example of our frivolous legal community.

  29. That is just crazy.

  30. Let’s not exaggerate — the girl wasn’t four years old. She was four and a half.

    No, seriously — I was sure you had it wrong, and that only the parents were being sued, until I read the article. This is insane.

  31. I love how were suppose to wrap everybody in bubble wrap these days. It seems like we’ve become a society of head hunters all of a sudden. Were always looking for somebody to tack the blame on. Instead of trying to figure out who to sue why don’t we chalk it up to what it is, AN ACCIDENT! After we’ve done that why don’t we look at the real problem, “The question we should be asking is why we don’t have a dedicated space in the city for people on bicycles, including our children. ” – Bikes Can Work

    • 70 Marita

      Well said!!! The kid is 4. Accidents happen. Kids are kids and they need constant reminders. They aren’t even in kindergarten yet! Yes, a park would be nice. Park or no park, a 4 year old kid should be allowed to ride on the sidewalk. It’s much safer than the street!

  32. 71 A.J.

    All these things could be true. Then again, insurance companies often put a lot of effort into getting us all to vilify people who sue for important reasons, and we all unwittingly play along.

    Here’s an eminently likely scenario:
    The elderly woman’s surgery, care, and burial expenses for weeks in the hospital ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maybe she doesn’t have health insurance, maybe she has hit her catastrophic limit, maybe she’s just stuck with it because, for example, her insurance company says the at-fault child’s family’s insurer must pay in the event of accident. The families are insured and feel responsible to take care of it, but their insurance company doesn’t want to pay.

    The state probably doesn’t allow third party lawsuits — in other words, the elderly woman’s family probably can’t legally sue the child’s family’s insurer, they probably have to sue the child’s family if their insurer doesn’t pay (and if the child’s family loses a big suit, then the child’s family can sue the insurer — but this gives the insurer many layers of protection and many chances to wear people down and avoid paying).

    Regardless, the child’s family’s insurance company says it doesn’t have to pay because the child caused the accident and isn’t legally responsible, and the supervising parent isn’t directly responsible, either. (The article hints at this tenuous legal responsibility.)

    The article mentions that one family isn’t fighting against this determination. That’s another hint. Generally, it’s not the family making these decisions, it’s the insurance company covering them for liability, via the lawyer hired by the insurance company. And it’s likely the same for the child’s family involved in the suit.

    The headline itself very likely comes from the PR department of the insurance company that would be on the hook for the elderly woman’s expenses if this suit lost. If people buy into the PR, then the insurer is probably more likely to push the family to court, hoping to wear them down and pressure them with irreparable harm to their reputations from the public who think they are just greedy.

    Prolonging everything has the effect of further increasing the cost of waging the suit to collect the medical costs to begin with, so more damages have to be included to cover the cost of the attorneys and court costs. (What if the elderly woman’s husband lost his home over this in the meantime… there are many potential ramifications for which people would never be compensated.)

    I’m not saying this is what’s happening, I’m proposing it as a very likely scenario, because it happens very, very frequently just like that, and insurance companies find it very easy to manipulate things to their benefit and get all of us to vilify the people involved who are just trying to do the right thing. In many states, in court, plaintiffs are not even legally allowed to bring up the insurance at all, even if insurers have been controlling everything from day one.

  33. 72 Stephanie

    Wow. A 4 year old, how is that even legal. She’s only a kid it’s not like she meant to run into the old woman. It is tragic that the old woman died but blaming a 4 year old is unbelieveable!!!!!!!

  34. 73 lc

    Keith – in order for a four-year-old kid on a bike to kill an adult (even a possibly infirm 87-year-old), he or she has to be traveling at considerable speed. It takes distance to build up to that speed. Where was yuppie mom when little Juliet reached critical speed? Probably half a block away – and those are long blocks. Classic case of NYC yuppie entitlement, seems to me: 87 years old, lived here all your life? Too bad. Time to move over and let the spoiled brats drag race on the sidewalk. Can’t wait to see what happens when little Juliet and her little partner in manslaughter turn 16 and get their drivers’ licenses.

    • I am sorry, but the article states the old lady died of UNRELATED causes THREE months later. This would cause one to think that the four year old did not kill her. It doesn’t take any speed at all to knock someone over with a bike, especially if you are not paying attention, hell, I have been knocked over by a bike laying on the ground.

      Where does all your chid hate come from? Don’t you realize the more you make children out to be terrible creatures that don’t deserve the space they are standing in, the more likely you are to have adults grow up to be terrible creatures, just like you.

  35. 75 Mikey

    St. Peter: “Ma’am, it says here your survivors are suing a 4 year old girl who hit you with her bike…?”

    Dead old lady: “You bet your bottom dollar! I hope they impoverish that confounded child, and that whipper-snapper is emotionally scarred for life!!”

    St. Peter: “Thanks for your honesty, ma’am.” (Presses button, old lady falls through trap door) “NEXT!”

  36. 76 shatterboxvox

    Was the accident the proximate cause, or was invasive surgery on an 87-year-old woman? I guess the jury will decide now.

  37. It’s likely that the only reason the family of the deceased is suing is because the old lady didn’t leave them any money and they want to squeeze every last drop out of her any way they can.

    But out of the whole cast, the judge who allowed the case to go to trial is the craziest.

  38. 78 sayitinasong

    A 4 year old cannot POSSIBLY be held accountable. Her parents, yes, for maybe lack of supervision (however, not knowing the details, it could’ve just been an unlucky, un-avoidable accident). World gone mad.

  39. lc, the four-year-old didn’t kill the adult. Read the article. Later complications were the cause of death. All the four-year-old did was cause a fall. No speed required.

    Name-calling and general nastiness don’t strengthen an argument. They point out its lack.

  40. The question asked by this blogger is the key one and has been ignored by many of the comments: Why isn’t there a dedicated space for bikers in NY? Well, there is, right? What about Central Park?

    If you don’t think Central Park bike-ways are tame enough, then try some of the paths that branch off from the main bike paths.

    If those aren’t convenient or appropriate enough for kids, NY offers plenty of other parks with paths for bikes.

    So, there are options. Why is this such an issue then?

    I think it comes down to civility and a fundamental understanding of cause and effect. We live in a culture that touts mantras such as ‘I have a right to’ and ‘Why can’t I?’. Why CAN’T I let my children ride on the crowded sidewalk, huh? Why CAN’T I?

    ‘Well,’ says a decent, logical person, ‘you can’t because you might hit and kill someone.’

    ‘No, no no! Why can’t I? I have the right to! Bikes are great! Bikes are green! Let’s ride, ride, ride!’

    But on the other side, logic may not prevail either: ‘I have the right to walk the streets of NY. I do!’

    ‘But you’re getting older and the streets aren’t safe. With every day, your risk increases of suffering a fall and dying,’ replies the logical person.

    ‘I have just as much right to do that as anyone else,’ replies the older person, highlighting again the fact that somewhere in the trumpeting of our rights, we’ve forgotten what even a 4-year-old should know:

    We can’t have everything we want, sometimes just because we can’t, and sometimes just because the only thing separating us from animals is our civility.

    Thanks for the great post!

    -Mike Raven
    http://survivingcorporate.wordpress.com

  41. Uh, I think the suit will be against the legal guardian of said 4-year old. Just a thought.

  42. 82 mynorton

    Now this child is going to fear riding her bike again as it is , but now she has to grow up really fast for something she would never would have done if her mother or nanney had been paying attention to her . That is who should be in court .

  43. 83 Generation 26

    This horrible. I’m sure the kid feels bad enough, but to actually drag them to court?! Wow. God help America

  44. Mike, Central Park for four-year-olds on training wheels?

    Really?

  45. 86 mamaj

    It is really sad, but i want to know–where are the parents?

    • According The New York Times article, the mothers were supervising the girls and were included in the lawsuit.

  46. 89 bynackmor

    I find this so hard to believe- a four year old girl on her bike being sued, it is 2010- doesnt anyone anymore see the tradegy in all of this. I feel for the 87 yr old, who knows what went through her mind, the 4 year old will be traumatised by what has happened- who is going to win, answe no one- the girls parents are partly responsible for not keeping their daughter on a tighter leash. Why take a bike into Manhatten anyway? A four year old should play in Central park on her bike, not where its dangerous. This is a tragedy for everyone.

  47. 90 coloradobee

    Wow, what a sad world we live in. A freakin’ four year old?

  48. 91 ancientfoods

    I have to say when I was a child my parents taught me even at the tender age of 3 or 4 not to cross the street unless I looked both ways and to watch where I was going, bike or not. I taught this to my daughter as well. i think parents today( and this doesn’t mean all of them) just don’t bother to teach the value of other peoples rights to their children. I see this everyday, using the excuse that “they’re just children ” for all sorts of behaviors.
    Parents teach your children maners and respect and set limits on their behavors, then maybe a judge won’t have to do it for you!

  49. I loved this comment from the NYT article:
    “The ruling makes sense………….someone is responsible for the woman’s death……I expect the mother was with the 4 yr old to supervise her behavior…….therefore the mother was responsible for not providing the proper supervision and allowing the 4 year old to race her bike on the sidewalk where people/person was walking.
    Very sad. A woman survives the many dangers and pitfalls of life for 80+ years only to have it snuffed out by a woman too careless to control her child. If the woman was negligent walking her dog and it killed the 80 year old woman there would be no question of her negligence. Why should she not be responsible for her 4 year old child?” AGREED

    A. Riding a bike on a sidewalk is illegal.
    B. Central Park isn’t that far from 52nd street, take it there.
    C. Why did the mom let the kid ride fast enough and far enough away that she couldn’t be stopped before hitting the woman?

    Sounds like crummy parenting to me.

    On the other hand, the woman died 3 months later of unrelated causes….so what are they suing for? The cost of the hip surgery?

    • 93 urbanbodhisattva

      Riding a bike on the sidewalk is not illegal for children, only for adults.

    • There is a differene between parenting a-dog, and a-human-child.

    • 95 jack haveman

      Assumptions. The kid may not have racing. The poor lady could have tripped over her. Had she tripped over a 4 year old walking would the child be responsible because she was to short and therefore to hard to see? She could as easily tripped over a toy baby carriage, a little wagon or any other child’s toy. Had she tripped over a dog, the dog owners would not be liable. If the dog attacked the woman leading to her death, then the owners could be sued.
      Don’t ever bump into someone. This may lead to extensive damages and a lawsuit.

    • Good question. But a better one is why would the judge be stupid enough to let it go to court? As the article says the old lady died of unrelated causes months later. So how is the kid even involved in her death. Like I said, “STUPID JUDGE”.

  50. Can you write about LA being more bike happy too! You’re much more likely to get hit by a car, or a tumbleweed than a bike around here. 🙂

  51. Just a note. The old lady died of unrelated causes.

  52. “A. Riding a bike on a sidewalk is illegal.”

    Incorrect. Riding a bike on the sidewalk is illegal if you’re over 14.

  53. The article says that the elderly woman died 3 MONTHS later of UNRELATED causes..

    I took care of my elderly grandmother and it doesn’t take much for them to lose their balance, fall and break a bone. I had to constantly remind my 4 yr old son this.

    It sounds like the kids were doing exactly what children do! They were probably accustomed to adults that could easily dodge them. Unfortunately, our society seems to think it is wise to separate the children from the elderly most of the time but how do children learn to interact and respect elderly people like that? Children have to be taught that elderly people are usually more fragile and can’t move the same ways that their parents can. And that they will have to be more careful while playing or rough housing around them.

    My son eventually learned that his great-grandmother wasn’t for playing rough with but great to tell stories, cuddle with and watch movies!

  54. What a sad lot we all face in life as humans.
    We are becoming so extreme in our desire to create a world of perfect justice and fairness, to defy death, cruelties and absurdities, to give order to that which has no order, that we no longer can accept the concept of an accident; any time something unfair happens, someone must be found who is at fault.

  55. From what I understand here.. a four year old was on a bike (let’s be real.. four year olds ride tricycles). (S)he was probably low to the ground, as they are quite small.. and an elderly woman (who may not have had the best vision) was hit by this four year old (or maybe she didn’t see her and tripped over her?) and was injured. Later, she died of a separate issue.

    So.. it’s not the child’s fault.. and it’s not the adult’s fault, either. Accidents happen. I don’t think it matters whether the parents were watching or not. Maybe the parents were watching but couldn’t make it over in time. Maybe the parents weren’t watching, but I’m sure there were other people on the sidewalk who were. Maybe the parents were watching and just couldn’t stop it.

    Basically, accidents happen. Why do we have to blame someone for an accident?

    A child on a bike does not make for a bad child. A parent who isn’t hovering over a child isn’t a bad parent. There are a lot of factors missing from this scenario that make it a tough call, but I think there is a really good chance that it was just an accident.

  56. I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s all smoke and mirrors! Its definitely for the shock value & headlines. No one should be held accountable — accidents are just that — accidents. You can’t prove how it actually happened. Was she fine after the operation, did the operation not go well? So now should they sue the Dr.? So who’ll make the money? The lawyers… Please, there are so many variables, could she not have been sure-footed before the little girl even got near her? See, there are so many ways you can place doubt. Its just the media again causing hysteria to take “the peoples” mind off of what is really important in this world. Thats what they do. Wake up people!
    Our freedoms are being taken away!

    evelyngarone.com

  57. One of the reasons supposedly grown women don’t take responsibility for their choices and/or actions is because they are not held accountable at a young age as this girl and her mother need to be. The reason that a fractured and/or broken hip leads to death in older people is because once they become inactive/bedridden because that can on longer walk. Blood clots form in the legs and travel upwards into the lungs, heart and brain which raises the risk for death by asphyxiation, heart attack and stroke.

    • Your a fool. The old lady died of unrelated issues months later. Why do you keep trying to condemn this poor little girl? Your just as clueless as the judge that let this case go to trial. And “US WOMEN” do take responsibility for our actions.

      • The simple fact is that she was racing another child down the sidewalk and apparently wasn’t paying attention which is why she ran over the 87 yr old woman. She was indeed negligent and must be held accountable for her actions.

  58. This is ridiculous. Although her parents, or guardians should have been there beside her, the problem is that we can sue anyone for anything in today’s society. And the more outrageous, the better your chances of winning.

  59. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. I realize we live in a sue happy society but that’s taking it way too far.

  60. Did anyone ever think it could have been the ladies time to go???? As for the DaPoet, I take umbrage to the STEREOTYPE of “One reason grown women don’t take responsibility of their choices/actions is because they are not held accountable at a young age as this girl and mother need to be.” 4 are you serious. Would you want to be held accountable, think back to when you were 4, and would you want your parents prosecuted for your accident? THINK!? Before judging!! Who died and left you Monarch? I hope you don’t have kids, or a wife, you’re brutal…what’s up with that anger and judgement? Thanks for the medical diagnosis, but still, then Grandma’s days might have been numbered, even though I’m very sorry for her death and her family’s grief. I have an elderly mother and father and they would not want a little girl traumatized by an accident. They both have lived a long life and would forgive a little girl. Heaven is ready for them and they are ready for it!!!!!

    evelyngarone.com
    evelyngarone.com

    • FYI I’ve been married almost 29 years and my son will soon be 27…I stand by my comment…While growing up I was always held accountable for my choices and actions while on the other hand my stepsister wasn’t and she ended up pregnant at 15, married the father, had another child, then divorced and had another child by another guy. After which she began an affair with her best friends husband and broke up their marriage…

      Need more examples of females not being held accountable…I’ve got plenty…:)

  61. 115 ryoko861

    I was going to write a blog on this as well, but it was just so bizarre in my eyes. I’m sorry, but a 4 year old DOES NOT have the were for all to know the difference. They’re saying she does, but I say she doesn’t. All she wanted to do was ride her bike and well, the senior citizen got in the way. I don’t think the child purposely ran her over. There are details we don’t know….was there room to go around the woman, how fast was she going, did the child panic and forget to brake, etc….

    Hey, nobody said living in NYC was easy.

  62. 116 Kevin Daniel Gibbons

    All due respect and condolences to the family of the woman who passed on in this case. Sympathies to the child as well for the therapy that will be needed.

    For future reference:

    I’m wondering whether or not an elderly person (or their family) can be sued for being frail, walking alone on a sidewalk, crumbling on top of a four-year-old, and ultimately scarring the child psychologically for life. It seems absurd, but only as absurd as this case already is.

  63. Only in America! 🙂

  64. Wow, this seems like absolute insanity. Where do kids go to be kids, when they can’t play outside their own house? And suing a four year old for negligence? Come ON, they’re four! They’re supposed to be negligent, that’s their deal! Another casualty of overcrowding meeting spoiled people with too much money.

  65. What is it with 4 year olds and “crimes” lately? Reminds me of the incident not too long ago where the 4 year old boy shot his mom in the side.

    I don’t think children under the age of 7 or 8 should be held responsible for such things.

  66. 120 marlowesnymph

    I work at a retirement home, and I know that freak accidents happen all the time. We had one lady, healthy as a horse, great balance, fall and crack her skull open, and that’s why she died. Other men and women who you would think were about to take their last breath any moment end up lasting for years. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will go and when. So I guess it doesn’t surprise me at all that the woman would got hit by a little kid on her bike on a crowded sidewalk, but it certainly surprises me that the innocent little kid could be sued. It is so ridiculous. I think that people need to just kind of accept that these things happen.

  67. That’s just crazy … a lawsuit against 4 year old? The prosecutor and the judge must be on drugs.

  68. People interpret the law differently, which makes the legal system complex to navigate around and through. And, since we are a “sue-happy” country, our system allows for the wrong-doers to get off lightly, while the right-doers get tangled in it. The problem is, the law has to treat people as “equals.” The elderly woman has a right to live, the 4-year old has a right to play. Sounds simple enough but when we consider the law and interpretations of it…that’s a different story. Thanks for the wonderful post and congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

    (love your blog theme, I just updated mine to the same *smile*)

  69. What a dumb judge!

  70. That’s heartbreaking, how could anyone sue a four-year old?

  71. Well, your post sure got us involved. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! DaPoet I think you have some personal issues you need to step back from, not ALL woman can be compared to your stepsister or who ever else YOU know. I myself can be an example of a woman who holds herself responsible for her own actions. AND how about your WIFE, otherwise, how could you have lasted 29 years with her. Have you held your son responsible for everything he’s done since he was born??

    evelyngarone.com

  72. Sue her for all the money in her piggy bank and her allowance for the next five years. Good grief it’s not going to bring grandma back and you will just ruin this little girls life. I’ll bet Grandma could give whoever is doing this a bit of a talking too. I’ll bet she knew what it was like to grow up in a far more decent era.

  73. 127 jojomonkey

    ” That’s part of the thrill of living there—it’s a tiny island jammed full of people scattering around at all hours, getting angry in the summer heat, driving like lunatics, tourists gawking at the tops of buildings instead of the people in front of them trying to get to work. ”

    Trust me – there’s worse places in the world. Try Cairo for example. Karachi, Delhi, heck Paris was no better when I was there – French taxis are just as bad – they will run you over. Manhattan is pretty damn good. Problem is that most people are so damn absent-minded or constantly expecting things to be better – thus, they feel it should be better/safer, etc…

  74. Sad story on so many levels.

  75. Specially @ Sara (#84)

    Let me compare the situation to German law. In Germany it is prohibited by law that no child under the age of 7 can be sued for damages. A different question if the child`s parents can be sued for damages based on the violation of the obligatory supervision.

  76. 130 Summer

    OMG!! thats so weird!! how is it possible to sue a four year-old!! She’s a girl that doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong!! poor thing 😦

  77. OK I admit I didn’t read through all the comments here (because hello that’s a lot of comments – congrats on being freshly pressed!)

    I see most people discussing the rationality of finding a 4-year-old negligent, or whether or not her parents are at fault. Both interesting points, but…

    What I want to know is, has this sparked ANY discussion in NYC about working on bike traffic there? E.g. bike lanes? I’m a bike commuter in a much more rural area, and I already feel like I risk life and limb just to get to work… can’t imagine a city like NYC. This issue, that of promoting bike-friendly infrastructure in our cities and towns, is significant if you ask me, and deters many people from using their bikes to get places.

    That being said, I am currently in Holland. Northern Europe knows how to get this bike thing done – bike lanes/paths everywhere, and a populace of car drivers who know how to treat bikes as vehicles. Result? SO many people on bikes – including school kids going to school.

    HOWEVER. If this 4-year-old had been riding in a perfectly clear bike land in a northern European city the size of NYC? She wouldn’t have hit anyone, she would have been run over/caused a traffic jam. But… maybe at least she (and her parents) would understand a bike is a form of transportation, and she’s just a kid. She needs a place to ride safely. Hmmm… not sure what the answer is for a big city. :-/

  78. What an absurdity! Which judge was so lacking in wisdom and integrity that they would make such a ruling? It is unsafe justice to even presume that a 4 year old could competently instruct a defence lawyer. It would be a farce, if it were not so grave. This kind of thing demeans and degrades the law and makes the nation into an international laughing stock. One judge did all of that.

  79. This whole case is absurd. And why are some people even saying that the poor parents should be sued? I mean this will only ensure that the child has a nightmare about this accident all her life..

  80. We all are neglecting our children. We never bother what they want. I am worried what will happen in future with our children. whether they will get any space to play?

  81. In reality, wasn’t it the parents who were sued for not supervising their child. The statistics are simply horrible for women after hip fractures. The prolong immobility leads to all kinds of problems. I suspect her family is trying to recover some of the huge medical costs associated with her medical care. I also doube there will be a trial. It will be settled out of court with the money coming from the parent’s homeowner’s insurance [if they have any.]

    • 136 A.J.

      That’s probably what this is about in the first place. The trouble is, everyone is talking about what should happen rationally, not what actually happened because of our laws and how different parties like insurance companies impact what happens.

      Say the families of the kids feel responsible to pay the woman’s horrendous medical expenses — say they are taking responsibility for their daughter’s actions — the money comes from the insurance coverage.

      Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t usually just pay when there is a large loss. If the families’ company decided to play hardball, usually the only lever is to sue. The family itself has no cause to sue their insurer unless the insurer commits bad faith and leaves the family on the hook for a large bill, such as through a court judgement. The elderly woman’s family probably has no right to sue the insurer (this is called a third-party suit, in most states it’s not allowed), so they probably have to sue the girls’ family to leverage action by the family’s insurer.

      The circumstances probably don’t warrant the mother to be responsible, so again, probably the insurance policy won’t cover that situation (mother was not the “proximate cause” of injury), or it could be that any connection the mother might have would be through negligent supervision (a tenuous thing to prove) and that is likely not a “covered peril”.

      So in order for the family to invoke their coverage, or any party to invoke the insurance coverage for the woman’s medical, in the event that the family’s insurance company is being recalcitrant, probably the little girl has to be sued. This brings up the legal question of whether the girl can be sued.

      The point is, I can guarantee no one woke up and said, Gee, I think I’ll get rich suing a little girl. This is almost certainly the result of the strange machinations we all have to do to got the insurance coverage we paid for… (in this case, the families of the kids).

    • That would be a very stupid thing for the parents to do. Considering the fact that the old lady died af unrelated causes. Why admit quilt where there isn’t any?

  82. Well, I guess the poor kids is going to have to sell her Barbie Dream House or lose it in court….unreal.

  83. I know plenty of people who are successfully raising families in NYC. This is just ONE of those STOOOOPID cases that gets lots of media attention. But guess what? It’s going to be appealed, and the decision will be reversed. We just won’t ever hear that part.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    Come visit me at: Lessons From Teachers and Twits
    http://rasjacobson.wordpress.com

  84. Okay, I wanted to be comment 100, too! 😉

  85. Well sure they can sue the four year old – they’re just going to lose.

  86. 142 Matt

    Thanks to everyone for the excellent conversation!

  87. 143 A life less simple

    That is so sad, I am a play work and all children need room to play and run around in

  88. I don’t believe New York City is as heartless as some people think it is, this was just an unfortunate incident that led to some family member wanting to capitalize on an unfortunate incident. All in all, New York City is a vibrant fun place to live, I lived there for 5 years before the World Trade Center incident.

  89. Yikes. The two groups I hate the most- children and the elderly.

  90. 146 Marita

    OKAY. So some of you suppose it would be better to put the kid in the STREET instead? Is this what you are telling me? It’s a lose-lose for these parents and all parents these days. 4 year olds cannot predict future circumstances such as running into things or people. Even if they could it doesn’t mean they always will. Plus, life happens. Expecting to go through life without any accidents or mishaps is unrealistic. ONE LAST TIME-THE LADY DIED OF UNRELATED CAUSES!

  91. 147 morningtear

    That is absolutely crazy! Like you said, this should be something that makes people think “Oh, maybe we should make some space for cyclists then” not “let’s sue!” Madness!

  92. A lawsuit against a four year old, has the society gone lawsuit crazy?

  93. 149 hallelujahh

    i think whatever the reasons they sued (funeral bills, hospital bills etc) this is ridiculous. how is a four year old held accountable for anything especially the death of an 87 year old women. she’s 87 for christs sake. i would understand more if it were say a 24 year old, she has probably been riding her bike for over a decade, she has more control of her body. children are not use to their bodies yet. they run too fast, their head is too heavy and they flip over. the awkwardness of figuring out your body doesn’t go away until at least 18.

  94. 150 Facting Frank

    4 years old??? There is something wrong with this picture

    http://www.weatherwatcher.wordpress.com

  95. 151 Bad Nana No Applesauce

    Meanwhile, no charges have been filed on this ignorant hag who did her darndest to kill DOZENS on the freeway:

    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2010/10/29/elderly-woman-caught-on-video-driving-in-wrong-direction-on-i-95/

    Un-be-frickin-lievable.

  96. 3 words in 1. Lol.

  97. I feel bad for the little girl. Hope that event won’t have a traumatic effect on her.

  98. No bike lanes?! I guess I took it for granted that all major cities had them. We have them here in T.O. and are fighting for more. One of my pet peeves is when cyclists (who are adults, not 4 yrs old) ride on sidewalks. Maybe pedestrians should start walking in bike lanes.

  99. This is an absolutely unbelievable story, how is this possible. A four yr. old?

  100. That’s crazy!Kids need to play not in court

  101. I haven’t read every single post carefully but as one previous poster suggested that there are people not fit to drive at all and they have killed some one else (pedestrian, cyclist) when driving. Good example would be the elderly who insist they are capable over 80 yrs. …. Yet in many cases, the law is not written to charge the culprit to nothing more than negligence, if that at all.

  102. This is just sad. It’s true, though. It was an accident made by a 4-year old. An accident that led to the death of an 87-year old woman.

    Either the elderly woman’s relatives wanted to see the 4-year old and the family suffer, or they just wanted to make some quick cash. Either way, that’s just fucked up.

    It’s only logical based on the information given.

    It’d be understandable if the parents of the girl were being sued (even though the girl was being supervised), but suing the 4-year old girl? How can she be held accountable for that?

    Children, especially around that age, make mistakes. That’s how they begin to learn. The woman was already at an old age, so shouldn’t the doctors who treated her be held accountable rather than the girl? These people are just fucked up.

  103. 159 David

    This is totally absurd. A 4 year old, really? Come on judge, get you head out of your ass and let the kid live a normal life. It’s not about the woman being elderly, she could have been 20, but a kid at 4 just doesn’t know any better and until they make it more safe for kids to get to central park or around town on their bikes than we all are just going to have live with accidents now and then. If this was an epidemic of kids killing little old ladies with their bikes than sure, but that’s not the case and I’m sure this kid for the rest of their lives is going to live with the guilt that they caused an accident that lead to the death of a person. That’s enough punishment right there.

  104. Seriously, how hard and fast can a 4 year old ride a bike? Most of them are on training wheels and can’t even pedal that fast. Something just doesn’t sound right. Bless that child who will have to go through this type of situation unknowingly until he/she understands.

  105. 162 oldfielt

    People will do anything for money…. this poor little girl is going to be scarred for the rest of her life because she had an accident riding her bike. Even if it doesn’t get far (which it won’t) she will still remember how she was in the news because of what she did. What has our world come to?

  106. 163 wrecmom

    Utterly ridiculous. Maybe nose on the wall for a minute for not being careful, but, a lawsuit? Really? Criminy Pete! She’s going to think she’s a bad girl. Whoever sued her should be counter-sued for psychologically damaging the child. I’m sure she didn’t mean to do it. What’s the world coming to?

  107. Children learn through play and if there is insufficient room to allow them to explore/play then there is bound to be consequences.
    I wonder how this incident will affect the child mentally.

  108. 165 rash7eed

    its an accident’s hope the 4yr. old not sued like that…..

  109. Shouldn’t someone have been watching out for the old lady as well??? It is clear to me – that if she fell down and died because someone (a 4 year old) bumped into her on the sidewalk – that SOMEONE who cared should have been watching after this old bag…

    She lived to be 87… I think anything could have sent this lady into the morgue… If the kid says, “I’m sorry” – I say we’re good here… Let’s move on…

    • 167 wrecmom

      Correct, but calling old women old bags has most likely just sealed your fate in the nursing home one day. I see elder abuse in your future, you being the victim. Karma’s a biotch with puppies.

  110. 168 Felix Qui

    The question is whether a 4 year old human can know that riding her bike into a frail, 87 year old woman is appropriate or not. I think most 4 year olds would, and should, know not to do that. If this particular 4 year old is retarded, that would be good grounds for not assuming that she has the usual reasoning capacity of a 4 year old human being. Is she in fact retarded? Does she lack the basic skills of your average 4 year old human to know what she is doing and what her surroundings are?

    All the judge has done is confirm that she has the usual intellectual and reasoning ability of a 4 year old (in fact, almost five at teh time.)

    Yes, it was an accident. But if negligence contributed to its occurrence, then the lawsuit is reasonable.

    Talk about the child being scarred for life seems a bit dubious. Are four year olds typically so delicate? I think many of the commentators here grossly over estimate the long term effects of even traumatic events on a person of any age – we do tend to recover and bounce back from such tragedies as death, abuse and the like, so why would a trial be likely to be any worse?

    Is a little reason and reasonableness, or even some solid evidence, too much to ask?

    • 169 wrecmom

      I have no reply to such an absurd comment. Really. I mean, wow! Really. Are you a robot? Pffft!

  111. 170 novedex

    That is terrible! She is 4 yrs old!! The world has gone mad!
    http://novedex.org/

  112. lc,

    I’m 24 but, due to a disability, am very unsteady on my feet, not unlike an elderly person. I know that it does not take anyone travelling at speed to knock me off balance; a slightly misplaced step, or someone brushing past me is more than capable of making me lose my footing. Equally, thanks to the same disability, I have severe Osteoporosis, once again similar to an elderly person. Because of this, I would not have to fall a great distance, or land particularly heavily or awkwardly, to break or fracture a bone. The speed the child was travelling at is wholly irrelevant. If a child banged into me (as they have, on occasion), I would not blame the child. And only if the child was particularly badly behaved or obnoxious would I blame the parent. We were all young once, we all had or caused accidents, but that didn’t make us bad children, or our parents negligent. Maybe the child tried to stop, or in the panic that she would hit the old lady, forgot how to control the bike? A parent cannot control their child’s behaviour constantly without becoming some sort of dictatorial figure, denying their child the freedom to have fun. I’m sure the child’s parents feel awful, even if the lady died due to unrelated problems, that she had been hurt in the first place. Sometimes there is no blame to place but, for who knows what reasons, people are determined to do so anyway.

  113. 173 Robert C.

    This is CRAZY!! Our judicial system is a failure. All they do is attack harmless people. Come on a 4 year old?! That kid has equal, if not MORE right to be on that sidewalk than an old lady. Who is pressing these charges anyway? Is it the old lady’s greedy family member looking to suck the blood out of some poor kid? If they delay this ruling till she is old enough to understand and remember, she will be scarred for life! Not to mention that our WISE judge will definitely send her to some junior correction facility or whatever they call those places. Besides, if you’re that old leave the effing city! She is lucky she got hit by a small girl and not by our professional cab drivers *rolling eyes*.. Anyhow, she is 87 !! If you would shake her hand she would have broke her hip too lmao. PS to the idiots who will say “do you think this is funny?” Heck yes, this is not only funny, this is hysterically funny. You gotta love modern society and our officials in office. WOW!

    • With comments such as yours Robert C. there is absolutely no reason to wonder why many children in this day and age of irresponsible parenting are out of control when in public who then go on to commit far more serious crimes against others.

  114. The parent is primarily at fault for allowing her four year old daughter to ride her bicycle on the sidewalk…That is what parks are for…

    • 176 blessed

      @daPoet – No, kids have a right to go out, play outside and ride bikes – even in cities.
      We need children, and state & government knows, that we have kids, and they should change environment according to this fact, that kids can survive in our cities as well as pedestrians.
      Surely that girlie is traumatized …

      • If she is traumatized than it is the mother’s fault for she is the one who made the poor choice of allowing her child ride her bike on a sidewalk instead of taking her to a park. Children, bikes and sidewalks just don’t mix…

  115. This is why we are in America, A happy sue environment with justice to be served. rules are ment to be broken no matter how ridicules it might sound, in this case a 4 year old kid. In the end is lawyers who win the battle.

  116. 179 inspiredword

    So sad, very very sad. This is an accident that has turned into a tragedy.

  117. 180 TheWeirdo

    This is stupid. If the judge sues that poor kid for this, he must be fired. Anybody who agrees with me… should start a protest. I don’t live in Manhattan, however if you belive that this wrong, you should do something about this. I am 16 so nobody would listen to me, but a lot of people here may be social workers, mayors, teachers, parents.. you could do something about this. The question I always ask … “What about justice”

  118. Thats’s just ridiculous, suing a kid for being a kid. I’m shocked that the judge ruled for it to proceed, I mean she’s 4 years old >_<.

  119. I can’t believe it… negligence? Really? For somebody who is probably hardly old enough to know to look left and right; let alone be able to tell left from right?
    Thanks for sharing.

    • If she isn’t old enough to know to look left or right or be able to tell left from right then she shouldn’t have been riding the bike in the first place…

  120. If I “accidently” run someone over with my car in Manhattan, then people should just get over it cos hey have you ever been to Manhattan? It’s a really crowded city.

    Which is my way of introducing logic to morons.

  121. What’s this world coming to?! Has everyone lost it, or what! Suing a child is crazy, but the judge who is allowing this is even crazier! My question is, where were the parents of this child when this happened? Surely the child was not riding around Manhattan sidewalks by herself? Since she is a child, wouldn’t her parents be responsible for her?

  122. I agree with you. This is rediculas and appalling. This judge is a sever idiot.

  123. 188 Felix Qui

    It is quite amazing reading some of the responses here. Many seem ignorant of basic facts and are merely mouthing off attitudes that they presumably think are cool to hold.

    First: the old lady did NOT die as a result of the accident. No one has accused the child of manslaughter or of causing the woman’s later death. She has only been accused of negligence.
    Second: negligence does NOT mean intent to harm. No one has accused the child of being malicious or evil, merely negligent of reasonable precautions, and thereby contributing to an accident that did have serious consequences (but not fatal) for the 87 year old woman knocked down as as result of the alleged negligence.

    Please, at least get your basic facts right before shouting off about who is right or wrong in this unfortunate situation. Sure, it’s trendy to be common and ignorant, but why make a public display of your negligent attitude to facts and reason?

  124. 189 hurlbut

    I lik tis verie mooch!!!

  125. That sounds absolutely ridiculous.

  126. This is ridiculous! The child barely knows the concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, but how can she BEGIN to grasp the concept of the harsh vulgarities of the adult world???

    The girl clearly didn’t *mean* to hit the woman intentionally, but I seriously doubt that a simple fall ultimately contributed to the woman’s demise–either three weeks or three months later.

    • You need to start watching the medical shows broadcast on Sat. and cable…One of the primary causes of death in the elderly are blood clots that form in the legs after the person has become bedridden {due to a fall or accident that fractured their hip} and travel upwards into the lungs. The resulting death is extremely painful and slow…

  127. Wow. What is America really coming to? Seems like competence levels are exponentially dropping. The family is acting out in pain but in all the wrong ways.

  128. Gosh this is astonishing. Its surprising how mature and careful and proper 4 year olds are supposed to be these days.

  129. This is awful..how can you sue a 4 year old.. !! this is America!

  130. I am amazed at how many people hold the parents responsible. Clearly, they weren’t supervising. Clearly, they had never told the child to be careful around elderly people. Clearly, they should have called out the children when the racing started on a sidewalk, as such behavior is unacceptable. (ciara’s comment on the times article is enlightening)
    And ever since when can you tell a 4-year-and-9-months-old NOT to do something (or to do something, in casu be careful) a 100 times, and they will listen to you? I could easily image the mother seeing the situation arising – with her child on the bike approaching the lady, and as mum shouts out: “Juliet, watch out!” the child stops pedaling and turns around to look at her mum, but in her momentum she stills rolls on and hits the lady.

    As one of the commenters (#19) said above: let’s not confuse justice with retribution. It is highly likely the child caused the accident, but that does not mean she should be held responsible and brought to court – or her parents, for that matter. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, and the only way to prevent your child from ever hurting anyone it to lock them up in a box – but then you’ll have child services complaining.

    Justice should punish those who willfully and consciously hurt others, not 4-year olds who are just discovering their world.

  131. i can’t believe it.
    wow it’s so unbelievable
    i mean she’s only four year’s old for cryin out loud

  132. I just can’t believe there is not more to this story….
    I think I remember this old lady talking to her friends…I think she said, “you know my son, the judge…….and my grandson is a trial lawyer now…….so handsome!”

  133. As a kid I would like to say…..this is crazy! I know that I would be so upset if I road my bike into someone and hurt them, I am sure it was an accident. As sad as it is, I don’t think the kid should get in trouble. It doesn’t sound like bike riders have many options there. SO SAD! Hunter71 http://www.hcrproducts.com

  134. nice post! i like it! – Naia-Indonesia

  135. 201 kevin

    i feel sorry for the little girl. it was just an accident.

  136. 202 Bad Nana No Applesauce

    @Felix Qui: Yeah, you’re right, I and most of the responders to this post are “mouthing off attitudes” because they are “cool”. Consider yourself dope slapped.

  137. What the f$#%? Kids below twelve aren’t culpable for negligence [:o]

  138. What?! come one man, a 4 year old responsible for that, really, I mean, it’s not like they get any room any where else to ride the bike, I live in Maine, and we have plenty of room, even if the old lady died three months later doesn’t make it the kids fault.
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Destiny calls me, one night of fire, one shot at glory.

  139. Why…Why…Why? Poor kid

  140. 206 Pranav Garg

    A 4-year old murderer or an accidental case?
    This ain’t no joke. The boy doesn’t even know what he did and what to regret for. You can’t hold him responsible for the death of the old lady.
    I am a 12-year old and I love to play soccer. I go to the park every evening and play or hours. There are many people walking there but they can’t hold me responsible for their being injured (if any such thing happens) because they know that where would kids go if they won’t let them in parks.

    Pranav Garg,

    http://thepranavgarg.wordpress.com/

  141. Ok, this might be a little sadistic, but it’s kind of awesome four year olds can be sued.

    I mean, when you think about it it’s insanely ridiculous, but it also gives parents another useful tool to discipline their children with: “Now Bobby, eat your vegetables or else someone may sue you”. Now that’s America

  142. Interesting. I lived in Queens, but I never heard of anything like this.

  143. Sad story. Sometimes, even the judicial has to be tactful. After all, suing this child will have a negative impact on the little mind. What is the law and order coming down to?!!

  144. Re: ….the little thread of thoughts I think I can tell you what the answer to your question about law and order, though it would be only my opinion: complete and utter disregard for common sense!


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