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
  • Aged 10–15
  • Aged 16–17
  • Aged 18

The actions of children are not judged by the same standard as adults. The relevant principles were set out in Honnor v Lewis:

(1) children below a certain age are unlikely to be found contributorily negligent—there is no fixed threshold but generally this includes a child under the age of ten years

(2) the correct test is whether a child’s conduct falls beneath the standard of a prudent and reasonable child of the same age

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 and have less awareness of road safety.

Under 10

Case name and detailsContributory negligence by the child?Key issuesFurther reading
Howell-Williams v Richards Brothers
[2008] EWCA Civ 1108
Court of Appeal, Civil Division
16 July 2008
No—five years old

—child had just left school and was travelling to the child minder on a minibus driver of the First Defendant’s vehicle

—the First Defendant, by depositing unsupervised children on the edge of the road in the knowledge that the claimant would cross the road, created the foreseeable risk of an accident and was held 100% responsible for the accident
M (a child) v Rollinson
[2003] 2 QR 14
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