Friday, December 27, 2013

Carter v. Hinkle case brief

Carter v. Hinkle case brief summary
52 S.E.2d 135 (Va. 1949)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant automobile driver (driver) sought review of the decision of the Circuit Court of Alleghany County (Virginia), which entered two separate judgments in favor of plaintiff injured taxicab owner (owner) for damages for both personal injury and property damage due to an automobile accident where the driver was negligent.

ISSUE
The issue on appeal was whether the owner, who suffered both property damage and personal injury as a result of a single wrongful act, could have maintained two separate actions against the driver, or was the judgment obtained in the first action for property damage a complete bar to the second action for personal injury.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the judgments and held that an injury to the person and one to the property, even though they resulted from the same tortious act, constituted different causes of action. 
  • The court determined that when a tortfeasor committed a tort that resulted in both personal injury and property damage there was nothing unreasonable in prosecuting separate actions against him. 
  • Two separate kinds of injury were in fact inflicted, and two wrongs were committed. 
  • The court decided that at common law the rule was that two actions could have been maintained and that the state legislature had not seen fit to change or alter the common law in that respect.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed both the personal injury and the property damage judgments in favor of the owner.


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