The question of whether a child can be held legally responsible for causing an accident was discussed at the unusual court case heard in Feldkirch Provincial Court this week.
The law states that a child under the age of 14-years-old cannot normally be held responsible in a civil court case.
“First and foremost, supervisors such as the instructors and the parents would be sued for neglecting their supervising responsibilities,” according to court spokeswoman Claudia Hagen.
An exception to the rule is if an under-aged child would have been capable of discerning a danger and therefore prevent any wrongdoing on their part.
The court in Vorarlberg is now examining whether the six-year-old in this case is at fault, as claimed by the woman.
Both parties had been skiing in Bregenzerwald near the border between Germany and Austria when the child – who was part of a ski lesson group – turned in front of the woman, causing her to fall and suffer serious injuries.
The woman has reportedly not been able to ski since and is also suing for compensation to cover future damages that might occur as a result of the accident.
Evidence given by a court expert suggested both parties were not paying enough attention before the accident and were both partly to blame. The court case was postponed on Monday, to allow for further evidence to be collected, and will resume in three weeks time.