Tender Years – Law of Torts – Notes

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Tender Year Doctrine – Children are not treated in the same manner as the adults. “Tender Year Doctrine” has been incorporated in common law to recognize the fact that children due to their young age are incapable of identifying negligence and hence cannot be made liable for the same. The youth in tender years doctrine has been not defined leading to certain states defining fixed age bracket for it and others comparing child in question to what a child of same age would have done in similar circumstances.

Appelhans v. McFall [757 N.E.2d 987 (2001)] – Plaintiff, an aged man was walking along when a 5 year old boy collided his bike with the man and fractured his hip. The collision took place in broad daylight, on a clear pavement, with no pedestrians, autos, or bicyclists present. Roadway was also straight and flat. Plaintiff alleged that parents negligently failed to instruct their son on proper hike usage and supervise him riding because they should have known that his youth would prevent him from considering the safely of those around him. The court held that the child was incapable of identifying negligence and hence the defendants were not liable.

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