Part of the problem I see in this discussion is that many here can not seem to separate the common sense most of us use when we are out on the hill vs "the code" itself. Now that Jacques has brought this up, it's a perfect time to explore the issue
Originally Posted by Jacques
That being said, the father is not teaching well. Before starting out, or entering a trail one must look uphill and yield to the riders coming down. The kid pops out without looking up the hill from a full stop.
The Code part
As far as the child (below dad) is concerned he did in fact start w/o looking up the hill violating a provision of the code. Technically he is responsible to some degree whether or not he knows the code, doesn't know the code, feels like being a jerk by cutting off the boarder or whether he has the mental capability at his age to understand the code. It doesn't matter the reason, he violated the code and as far as I know there is no provision in the code that gives him any leeway in that regard. Technically he IS AT FAULT for the accident to some degree. Maybe one of the lawyers here can go into contributory neglagence.
The common sense part
I sincerely hope that anyone here reading this would NOT expect a child of his age to act exactly as this one did. I would hope all of us here would automatically increase the distance (and/or decrease speed) when coming upon this situation. This is what lots of kids his age will do, especially if they have the limited vision from a helmut and goggles and reduced hearing capability with perhaps a balaklava under the helmut.
One thing Jacques mentions is that the "father is not teaching well" I have to disagree with that statement as there is presently NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that dad is "teaching". Dad does appear to be protecting up to the point of the crash though. Would it have made a difference if it was an Instructor in uniform with the child? Of course it would. Now the child is being guided by someone the courts would consider an "expert in the field". His percentage of fault would rise, especially if the Instructor had taught (or tried to teach him) the code.
If it ever got to the court room BOTH would be at fault....and I'll all but bet the finding would be that the childs action (though a code violation) was not a factor in the accident. I believe all of us here would (hopefully) expect that.
The code is the code (state by state / national / international, wherever) and a lot of times there isn't much common sense attached to it. It's there to decide who is at fault for an accident. It's not there to tell us who's at fault for what percentage of the accident. The courts do that. The best we can do is use our own common sense WITH full and accurate knowledge of the code to do what we all can to avoid breaking of the rules and sometimes our knowledge and ability to avoid those who do. Reading this thread so far, it's apparent we all have a long ways to go to get everybody on the same page.