Alternative to Suing a 4-Year-Old

As usual, I started my day by browsing The New York Times. And this morning, an article grabbed my attention: 4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case.

In summary, a 4-year-old girl and her friend were racing their bicycles under the supervision on their mothers on the sidewalk in Manhattan. At some point, they hit an 87-year-old woman and injuring her. The lady died three months later. The estate of the lady sued the children and their mothers for negligent. The judge decision was not about whether they are liable or not, but only to permit a lawsuit against the children and their parents to go forward.

Since this was just a short description from the incident, I don’t have any opinion on whether this was a tragic accident or this was more of a negligent. I wonder what the intention of the estate in suing the family, and I wonder how the parents approached the accident (did they show care and concern to the lady? Or did they just care about their kids’ rights?). Some commenters also suggest that including the children is the only way to sue the parents. I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea why the lawyers do what they do.

But what get me thinking is whether suing is the best way of resolving such a problem. It seemed to me that such a case should be resolved family to family, heart to heart. In my ideal world, I believe that the children need to know that what they did was wrong, but I don’t think it’s necessary for them to be sued. The parents need to have the humility to apologize. And the lady’s family need to be listened for their loss and pain but they need to forgive and let things go. I think this is what a compassionate and caring society should be. Can we accept that sometime things happen and let’s deal with it together rather than against each other? Can we take responsibilities just enough but not too much? And can we take responsibilities without being taking advantage of? To me, the more litigious our society is, the more we cannot do this because we have to defend and fight against each other. And this, put me unease.

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