224 A.2d 63 (NH 1966)

One-Sentence Takeaway: When a minor is engaged in an adult activity (e.g., driving a car), the standard of care applied to the minor is the same as the standard of care for an adult.

Summary:

Plaintiff’s 19-year-old son was killed when his motorcycle collided with Defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff sued Defendant and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff.

Defendant appealed the jury’s verdict arguing that the jury erred by determining the actions of Plaintiff’s son under the standard of care for a minor and, since the son was engaged in an adult activity, the jury should have been instructed on the standard of care applicable to adults.

The Supreme Court of New Hampshire agreed and reversed the verdict.  The court reasoned that a minor operating a vehicle is judged by the same standard of care as an ordinary adult; the ordinarily prudent person standard. The court held that an adult standard of care applied when minors are engaged in adult activities such as driving, even though minors were usually entitled to a standard of care based on their age and maturity when engaged in age-appropriate activities.

 

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