Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Defense Attorneys/
Salt Lake City (Murray)
Free 15 Min. Consultation  :  Nights & Weekends  :  Easy Payments

801-651-1512  -  24/7

Free 15 Min. Consultation 24/7

801-651-1512


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Are Children Protected Against Negligence Lawsuits?

Okay, so you're joyously riding your bike down the street when a four-year old - little Angela - pulls the trigger on a BB gun, which fires a BB into the street. She found the gun abandoned in a dumpster while she had been on a walk earlier that day with her dog, Shaggy. The BB hits you, and you crash. Your medical bills are over $5,000.

Can you sue Angela for negligence?

Hmm.

The Utah Supreme Court just issued a ruling that makes the little Angelas of the world much more protected against negligence lawsuits.

The Court said, "We conclude that the instances where it would be appropriate to hold a child under the age of five liable for negligence would be rare enough that the social costs of conducting an individualized inquiry [as to whether the particular kid being sued was much smarter than other kids younger than five] are not justified."

And, really smart ten-year-olds won't be getting a driver's license either. We have to draw a line somewhere.

The Court also said that people involved in lawsuits should know what to expect from the Courts and the law. Then, they stated that the Utah Supreme Court had the obligation "to consider the propriety of subjecting children of tender years to tort liability, or, when they are plaintiffs, denying them recovery for the negligence of others." After all, do we really want Angela to go through the trauma of having her deposition taken?

Just imagine:

Plaintiff: Angela, why did you shoot that gun?

Angela: Did you know that mom bought me a new pack of markers yesterday?

Plaintiff: Just answer the question, please.

Angela: They are really nice. They are nicer than Becky's. Hers are all dried out.

Plaintiff: Is this a joke to you, little girl?

Angela: Knock knock.

Plaintiff: I am not playing that game, young lady.

Angela: What were you eating under there?

Plaintiff: Under where?

Angela: Ba ha ha ha ha ha!

How did the Court rule? Well, that Angela is typically going to be safe - at least until she turns five. In other words, the Court adopted a legal rule that children under the age of five may not be held liable for negligence.

So, what if your child is older than five? Well, that's an open question. The question of whether a child five or over is capable of negligence is reserved for the jury.

Nielsen ex rel. C.N. v. Bell ex rel. B.B., 2016 UT 14, ¶¶ 21-22, 370 P.3d 925, 929

Don't ever just rely on a blog, get competent legal advice. Or call us at 801-651-1512

Feedback From Satisfied Clients

"The domestic violence and DUI crimes that I was charged with would have ruined my career. Thank you for saving me! You are worth every penny I paid you."

More Testimonials

Avvo Clients' Choice Award. 5 Stars

Lawyers.com Reviews

Matindale Hubble Client Champion Lawyers 2018

Google Reviews


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Clients with disabilities or impairments
Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.



Greg Smith and Associates
111 E. 5600 S. #105
Murray, UT 84107

Salt Lake City, UT

801-651-1512


Typically No Retainer - Easy Payments. *Call for details.


Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, represent clients in Salt Lake City (SLC) and all throughout the state of Utah.


DISCLAIMER: I understand that I am contacting a corporation, not an individual, and that if I do business with the law firm, it will be with that corporation, not any individual(s). I understand that Greg Smith and Associates is not the legal name of the law firm, rather, it is "Aafordable Legal Advocates, PC." I also understand that whatever may relate to, or arise out of, any communication with the law firm, which results in any type of legal action, such must be brought in the Third District Court of Utah, West Jordan Department, and that this is mandatory not permissive.


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