Can a child hit in a crosswalk be partly at fault?

  • Yes, if the child is old enough, and did something unexpected that led to the injury occurring
  • A child must exercise the care expected from a child of similar age, intelligence and experience
  • How old is ‘old enough’ depends on the circumstances

In Taggart v. Heuchert a 10 year old girl was hit when crossing a four lane road by her school.  Several cars in the curb lane had slowed or stopped, but the driver in the median lane did not stop.  The girl was hit when she stepped out past the car in the curb lane.  She had been walking quickly, and had probably not looked to her left before stepping into the median lane.  She was either inside an unmarked crosswalk, or within 2-3 feet of it.

He judge found that the girl was not at fault.  She did not do anything, such as running out in front of the driver, which would have prevented the driver from responding and stopping her car in time to avoid the collision.  She was walking, was in or very near a crosswalk, and was crossing where cars had stopped for her to cross.  Had she walked a little slower, or stopped, looked and listened before entering the next lane, she could have avoided being struck.  However, this was an error of judgment and a momentary lapse in awareness, not negligence.  She was in a 30 km/h school zone, crossing at an intersection where cars had stopped to let her and others cross.  It would not be unexpected of an adult, let alone a ten year old, to feel a level of personal safety that could momentarily distract them from all they had learned about safely crossing intersections.

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Read the case:  Taggart v. Heuchert