Marshall v. Southern R. Co.

233 N.C. 38, 62 S.E.2d 489 (1950)

 

RULE:

A plaintiff's negligence need not be the sole proximate cause of the injury to bar recovery. It is enough if it contribute to the injury as a proximate cause, or one of them.

FACTS:

The driver sought to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained when his automobile collided with trestle supports at an underpass under a railroad of the company. The driver alleged in his complaint that his injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of the company in that it had constructed and maintained the underpass with trestle supports that obstructed a street without lights, markings or signals of any kind to warn motorists using the street in the nighttime. The driver contended that the company knew of the dangerous condition thereby created and in that it permitted the obstruction to remain and exist in violation of a city ordinance. The company denied the allegations of negligence and asserted that the driver's contributory negligence was a proximate cause of the accident that caused his injuries.

ISSUE:

Whether the negligence of a motor vehicle driver must be the proximate cause of the injury in order to bar recovery.

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

It was manifest from the evidence that the driver failed to exercise due care at the time and under the circumstances of his injury, and that such failure contributed to, and was a proximate cause of his injury and damage. The operator of a motor vehicle must exercise ordinary care, that is, that degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances. And in the exercise of such duty it is incumbent upon the operator of a motor vehicle to keep a reasonably careful lookout and to keep same under such control at night as to be able to stop within the range of his lights. His negligence need not be the sole proximate cause of the injury to bar recovery. It is enough if it contribute to the injury as a proximate cause, or one of them. Based upon the facts, the court held that a nonsuit was properly allowed.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.