Issue: Does a separation of both space and time between initial negligent acts of a defendant driver and the later injury to drivers approaching from the rear negate the existence of a duty of care?
|Area of Law:||Personal Injury & Negligence|
|Keywords:||Breach of duty of care; Negligence; Driver|
|Cited Cases:||30 P.2d 951|
The early case of Thornton v. Eneroth, 177 Wn. 1, 30 P.2d 951 (1934) provides support for the argument that a separation of both space and time between the initial negligent acts of the defendant driver and the later injury to drivers approaching from the rear does not negate the existence of a duty of care. In Thornton, defendant Eneroth was the first driver in a chain reaction series of five collisions that occurred over several minutes, arguably involving the separate negligence of several drivers. Eneroth, the first driver, had negligently stopped his car on the highway to clear his windshield when he was struck by a car approaching from behind, starting the chain reaction. The court held that even though Eneroth was no longer even present when the fourth and fifth collisions occurred a number of minutes later, he was still liable because “he was the moving cause of what happened after he did leave.” Id. at 11, 30 P.2d at 955. Whether the other drivers were negligent and liable as well was a jury question. Id.
In Fallon v. D. Mongillo & Sons, 4 Conn. Sup. 156 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1936), the court implicitly concluded that owners of trucks that leaked oil over the highway owed a duty to other highway travelers and that the truck owners could be held liable to occupants of a vehicle approaching from the rear who crashed due to the slippery condition, even though the defendant had leaked the oil at […]