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Bauman v. Crawford

Supreme Court of Washington
704 P.2d 1181 (1985)


In April 1979, 14-year-old Donald Bauman (plaintiff) was riding his bicycle when he collided with a vehicle driven by Robert Crawford (defendant) at around 9:30 p.m. It was dark outside, and a Washington statute required bicycles to be operated with headlights after dark. Bauman’s bicycle did not have a headlight. Bauman sued Crawford to recover damages for the resulting injuries, and Crawford claimed contributory negligence as a defense. The trial court instructed the jury that a violation of the headlights statute constituted negligence per se and that the standard of care for a child was that of a reasonably careful child of the same age and experience acting under similar circumstances. The jury returned a verdict for Bauman but reduced the award by 95 percent for contributory negligence. Bauman appealed the verdict, arguing that the trial court had erred in instructing the jury on negligence per se because Bauman was a minor. The court of appeals affirmed, and Bauman appealed.

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