Law School Case Brief
Thompson v. Christian - 342 Mich. 463, 71 N.W.2d 67 (1955)
Drivers upon highways are not held as insurers against accidents arising from negligence of children or their parents, and though in law such negligence in a particular case may not be a defense, as contributory negligence, for a driver also guilty of negligence, the fact of an accident does not establish liability or raise a presumption that the driver is negligent. A three year old plaintiff is incapable of contributory negligence.
Plaintiff Douglas Thompson was three years old when he exited his home and was running on the side of the street. Defendant Hazel Christian was driving east along the road and hit Thompson when he ran across the street. Christian had attempted to stop her car and made only slight contact with Thompson. The trial court directed a verdict for Christian, finding that the accident was not her fault.
Was defendant driver Christian liable for hitting plaintiff Thompson when he had unexpectedly emerged from the side of the road and began running across the street?
Affirming, the Supreme Court of Michigan found that, based on the testimony of witnesses, defendant driver Christian had conducted herself with due care and held that Christian had not acted negligently when she was unable to stop her car from hitting plaintiff Thompson when he had unexpectedly emerged from the side of the road and began running across the street. The Court also noted that Thompson was incapable of contributory negligence as he was three years old.
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