Isaac v. A.L. Ammen Transport Co., Inc.

G.R. No. L-9671, 23 August 1957, 101 Phil. 1046

FACTS:

Cesar Isaac boarded Bus No. 31 from Ligao, Albay bound for Pili, Camarines Sur and seated himself on the left side resting his left arm on the window and with his left elbow outside the window.Before reaching his destination, a pick-up car at full speed and was running outside of its proper lane came from the opposite direction.

The driver of the bus swerved the bus to the very extreme right of the road until its front and rear wheels have gone over the pile of stones or gravel situated on the rampart of the road. He was rushed to a hospital in Iriga, Camarines Sur where he was given blood transfusion to save his life.After four (4) days, he was transferred to another hospital in Tabaco, Albay. Where he underwent treatment for 3 months. He incurred expenses of Php623.40, excluding medical fees which were paid by A.L. Ammen Trans. Co.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there is no negligence on the part of the common carrier since the accident resulting in injuries is due to causes which are inevitable and which could not have been avoided or anticipated notwithstanding the exercise of that high degree of care and skill which the carrier is bound to exercise for for the safety of its passengers neither the common carrier nor the driver is liable therefore.

HELD:

Yes. Considering all the circumstances, we are persuaded to conclude that the driver of the bus has done what a prudent man could have done to avoid the collision. It is true that Isaac’s contributory negligence cannot relieve A.L. Ammen of its liability but will only entitle it to a reduction of the amount of damage caused (Article 1762, new Civil Code), but this is a circumstance which further militates against the position taken by Isaac.

Where a carrier’s employee is confronted with a sudden emergency, the fact that he is obliged to act quickly and without a chance for deliberation must be taken into account, and he is held to the some degree of care that he would otherwise be required to exercise in the absence of such emergency but must exercise only such care as an ordinary prudent person would exercise under like circumstances and conditions, and the failure on his part to exercise the best judgment the case renders possible does not establish lack of care and skill on his part.

Principles governing the liability of a common carrier:

1. the liability of a carrier is contractual and arises upon breach of its obligation. There is breach if it fails to exert extraordinary diligence according to all circumstances of each case.

2. a carrier is obliged to carry its passenger with the utmost diligence of a very cautious person, having due regard for all the circumstances.

3. a carrier is presumed to be at fault or to have acted negligently in case of death of, or injury, to passengers, it being its duty to prove that it exercised extraordinary diligence.

4. the carrier is not an insurer against all risks of travel.

*Case digest by Mark Milan, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019

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