Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Contributory negligence

SABINIANO DUMAYAG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 172778,  November 26, 2012

“ x x x.

Under the proven circumstances, there was contributory negligence on the part of petitioner. It is to be noted that there were two blind curves along the national highway. Having travelled along it for the past 20 years, he was aware of the blind curves and should have taken precaution in operating the passenger bus as it approached them. In the situation at hand, he did not exercise the necessary precaution. After negotiating the first curve, he claimed to have stepped on the accelerator pedal because his lane was clear. According to SPO2 Patalinghug, he found skid marks produced by the passenger bus. It could only mean that petitioner had slammed on the brake brought about by the sudden emergence of the tricycle in front of him. Notwithstanding, it was still short of reckless or criminal negligence as he was driving along his rightful lane.

Considering that the proximate cause was the negligence of the tricycle driver and that negligence on the part of petitioner was only contributory, there is a need to mitigate the amounts of the civil liability imposed on the latter. The determination of the mitigation of the civil liability varies depending on the circumstances of each case.31 The Court allowed the reduction of 50% in Rakes v. Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co.,32 20% in Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. IAC33 and LBC Air Cargo, Inc. v. CA, 34 and 40% in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. CA 35 and Philippine Bank of Commerce v. CA.36

In this case, a reduction of 50% of the actual damages is deemed equitable considering that the negligence of the tricycle driver was the proximate cause of the accident and that of petitioner was merely contributory. Moreover, under the circumstances, petitioner cannot be made liable for moral and exemplary damages for lack of basis. The award of attorney's fees is not warranted either.

X x x.”