P was an 11-year-old girl riding on the back of a snowmobile operated by 13-year-old boy D.
In an accident, P's thumb was cut off on the snowmobile.
P sued D in negligence.
The judge instructed the jury that the minor must exercise the same reasonable standard of care as a child of like age, intelligence, and experience.
Trial court found for D.
WA Supreme Court reversed, remanded.
When might a child be held to a higher/adult standard of care?
A child might be held to a higher/adult standard of care when the child is engaged in the operation of machinery normally operated by adults or is engaged in some dangerous activity usually done by adults.
Many courts have begun to apply the adult standard of care to children in certain circumstances.
Courts must be careful though to make sure that children are not prevented from doing normal children things.
Thus, liability should be judged at the adult level only when the child is engaged in adult activities.
The instructions to the jury were erroneous under this view.
Extended to golf, driving a car or a scooter.
Not to building a fire, deer hunting, or downhill skiing.