107 N.W.2d 859 (Minn. 1961)

Defendant, a 12-year-old boy, while operating a powerboat, ran over Plaintiff’s fishing line causing the hook to snap back and injuring Plaintiff’s eye.  Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence.  The trial court instructed the jury that they should take Defendnat’s age into consideration when applying the standard of care analysis.  The jury did so and found in favor of Defendant.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed.  The High Court reasoned that minors who operate motor vehicles are no less likely to cause accidents and cannot readily be identifiedby by others as youthful and potentially imprudent operators.  Thus, the Court concluded that, for the standard of care analysis in negligence claims, minors who operate motor vehicles would be held to the same reasoanble person standard as adults.

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