Assessing contributory negligence of children in road traffic accident claims—case tracker
Assessing contributory negligence of children in road traffic accident claims—case tracker

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assessing contributory negligence of children in road traffic accident claims—case tracker
  • Under 10—child not contributory negligent
  • Under 10—child contributory negligent
  • Aged 10–15—child not contributory negligent
  • Aged 10–15—child contributory negligent
  • Aged 16–17—claimant contributory negligent
  • Aged 18—claimant contributory negligent

This case tracker considers case law on the contributory negligence of children involved in road traffic accident claims. The cases provide useful guidance on how the courts have interpreted and applied the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 in road traffic accidents involving injured children. Although case law can be a guide in certain respects it is important to appreciate that each case will depend on its own facts.

The actions of children are not judged by the same standard as adults:

  1. very young children cannot be found contributory negligent—there is no fixed threshold but a child under the age of ten years old is unlikely to be found contributory negligent

  2. the standard by which a child’s conduct is measured is that reasonably to be expected of a child of the same age, intelligence and experience

  3. the key issue is the degree of the child’s blameworthiness which is a question of fact

The courts have repeatedly held that each apportionment depends on its particular facts but the courts can compare illustrations of the application of principle with the facts of a case.

When considering the actions of children, a child aged ten or over is more likely to be found to have contributed to an accident by running into the road without checking for oncoming traffic than a younger child. Younger children tend to be more impulsive

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