Bierczynski v. Rogers

239 A.2d 218 (Del. 1968)

 

RULE:

It is also generally held that all who engage in a race on the highway do so at their peril, and are liable for injury or damage sustained by a third person as a result thereof, regardless of which of the racing cars directly inflicted the injury or damage. The authorities reflect generally accepted rules of causation that all parties engaged in a motor vehicle race on the highway are wrongdoers acting in concert, and that each participant is liable for harm to a third person arising from the tortious conduct of the other, because he has induced and encouraged the tort. 

FACTS:

Defendants were involved in a speed competition in automobiles on the public highway when one of the defendant's automobiles crashed into plaintiffs' automobile. Plaintiffs brought an action against defendants for concurrent negligence. After a trial, the jury found defendants were each negligent and the negligence of each defendant was the proximate cause of the accident. The defendant that did not strike plaintiffs' automobile appealed. Defendant contended it was error for the trial court to submit the issue of proximate cause to the jury, insofar as he was concerned. The court affirmed the lower court's decision.

ISSUE:

Could all defendant's be held accountable for damages to plaintiff?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court held that participation in a motor vehicle race on a public highway was an act of concurrent negligence which imposed liability on each participant for any injury to a non-participant that resulted from the race. The court affirmed and held the issue of whether defendant's conduct was a proximate cause of the accident was a proper issue for the jury.

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