This case involves two fourteen-year-old females who were operating a go-cart without adult supervision when they were struck by an oncoming automobile. The plaintiff, a fourteen-year-old-female, was visiting her friend and was left under the supervision of the friend’s mother. The friend lived on a farm, and she had recently received a new go-kart as a Christmas present. The mother needed to go to the store and left the home to run errands, but permitted the girls to ride the go-kart while she was away. Subsequently, the girls took the go-cart out, and drove it unsupervised, on the road. They were struck by a fast moving automobile while attempting to cross oncoming traffic. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffered significant injuries including a concussion, a broken shoulder, and a large laceration which required fourteen stitches.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Should fourteen-year-old children be allowed to operate go-carts without adult supervision?
Expert Witness Response E-006648
I have extensive background in the amusement and leisure industry as it relates to children’s entertainment. In order to determine the amount of supervision required, I would need to know more about the type of go-cart in question to determine if it was age appropriate. Other relevant factors include the terrain, the children’s experience driving the automobile, the frequency of the traffic, and even changing factors like the status of the go-kart (used or new) and the weather conditions on the day in question. While some models are safe for a child to use without being monitored, others can be quite dangerous and require adult supervision when in use. Overall, however, go-karts should never be allowed on regular roads, especially when driven by children. While all factors and circumstances need to be considered, it appears that the mother is partially liable based on her lack of supervision and the children’s subsequent actions of driving on the road.