11 Year Old Not Liable For Sport Injury: New Jersey Appellate Court

The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on December 7, 2014, has held that the 11 year old cannot be held liable for the personal injury sustained to the other child wherein he broke his arm during the youth lacrosse game which reported to be occurred on May 7, 2011, near the end of a recreational league game in Burlington County. As a subsequent result of which injured player and his father had filed suit against the player who caused the injury and his father.[1]

Therefore ruling over the case the New Jersey Appellate Court has noted a decision of its own kind or the first time pertaining to the liability of one child who injures another in a sports competition, established standards for judges to use in future cases. While deciding the case the standards which the court set forth is that whether the child’s conduct was reckless in the same way that would allow a lawsuit against an adult for the same acts and then a judge should decide if it would be reasonable in youth sports to expect a child not to act that way. The other aspect over which court presented its opinion was that it would be unfair to hold children who engage in such sporting activities to the same expectations and standards of conduct as adult athletes. Further, Court of Appeals held that children are particularly hard to sue because they are inherently learning how to comply with wider rules held by society and should not have the threat of a lawsuit preventing them from participating in sports.

Moreover, even to a prudent understanding negligence is the general standard of care applied in the vast majority of cases involving accidents and injury. A person’s actions are considered to be negligent when that person fails to exercise care for the safety of others that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. Recklessness, unlike negligence, requires a conscious choice of a course of action, with knowledge or a reason to know that it will create a serious danger to others.

[1]  See C.J.R. v. G.A., 2014 N.J. Super. LEXIS 165 – [DOCKET NO. A-2771-13T3]


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