Robinson v. Lindsay

This case was on appeal for failing to instruct the jury as to whether a minor operating a snowmobile should be held to the adult standard of care.

F: Damages were sought for personal injuries when Kelly Robinson lost full use of her thumb in a snowmobile accident where Bill Anderson was the driver.  Robinson was 11, and Anderson 13 at the time of the accident.  The trial court instructed the jury to assign the reasonable child standard of a child of the same age, intelligence, maturity, training, and experience would exercise under the same circumstances. 

A: Exceptions to the child standard has been created by courts to deal with children engaging in inherently dangerous activities, to be held to the adult standard of care.  This is done to protect the public, and discourage immature individuals from engaging in inherently dangerous activities.  Operating a snowmobile requires adult care and competence, and is an inherently dangerous activity.   Therefore, a child engaging in this activity is going to be held to the adult standard of care.  At the time of the accident, the 13 year old driving the snowmobile had experience driving them for two years.  He was operating the a powerful motorized vehicle at speeds of 10-20 MPH.  For these reasons, Anderson has demonstrated that he has the experience and was engaging in this inherently dangerous adult activity, and should be held to the adult standard of care.

R: When the activity a child engages in is inherently dangerous, such as operating a vehicle/snowmobile, the child should be held to an adult standard of care.

C:  Because of petitioner's experience operating snowmobiles, he should be held to the standard of care and conduct expected of an adult.  

H:  The court granted a new trail.