In matters of proof a court is not justified in inferring from mere possibilities the existence of facts.
An employee was injured when a wedge fell onto him. He was awarded compensation through he Workmen’s Compensation Act. He then sued and recovered judgment against the subcontractor for negligence. The subcontractor appealed, objecting to the trial court’s refusal to order a directed verdict in his favor.
Is the defendant entitled to a directed verdict?
The appellate court held that the lower court erred in instructing the jury that the mere fact a wedge fell was evidence of negligence. The court stated that there had to be evidence from which the jury could reasonably conclude there was negligence in order to give that instruction. Further, it held that unless the facts of the case clearly indicated negligence, it should be deemed a work accident and not presumptive negligence.