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13. Kapalaran Bus Line vs. Coronado [G.R. No. 85331. e.

10k - exemplary damages; to serve as a deterrent to


August 25, 1989] others who, like the bus company, may be minded to
Note: See RTC, CA & SC ruling on exemplary damages doon ung induce accident victims to perjure themselves in a
discussion ata nung safety of passengers na topic izzy sworn statement
f. 15k - attys fees & litigation expenses to the injured
1. Grajera, jeepney driver, came from Pila Laguna & was on its passenger
way towards Sta. Cruz traversing the highway. The jeep
reached the intersection and stopped. CA: Affirmed but set aside the grant of exemplary damages &
2. The bus was from Sta Cruz going to Manila. The regular the attys fees & litigation expenses to the injured passenger
itinerary of the bus was to pass thru the town proper of Pila Bus company: It was the fault of the jeepney driver. The jeepney
Laguna but in case the bus is already full, it would pass thru should have stopped since there is a possibility that another vehicle
the highway. The bus driver asked its conductor if they could behind the cars might not actually stop & might swerve to the left.
still accommodate passengers but the conductor said the
bus was already full. ISSUE: Was it right to hold the bus company liable? YES.
Here, boath roads are national roads. The bus was still far
from the intersection when the jeepney first reacher there. HELD:
Atty. Manicad driving his Mustang, & was 2 vehicles ahead of Kapalarans driver had become aware that some vehicles ahead of
the bus testified that he & the other 2 vehicle behind him the bus and
stopped at the intersection to GIVE WAY to the jeepney. But travelling in the same direction had already stopped at the
the bus ignored the stopped vehicles & overtook both intersection obviously to give way either to pedestrians or to
vehicles. another vehicle about to enter the intersection. The bus was driving
The 1st vehicle to arrive at the intersection was the jeepney. at a high speed on the highway to hight to slow down & stop &
The jeepney driver upon seeing that the road was clear, chose to swerve to the left land & overtake the stopped vehicles
began to move forward to which the lawyer stopped his car ahead of it & directly smashed into the jeepney. Immediately before
to give way to the jeepney. the collision, the bus driver was actually violating traffic rules. 1
While the bus was approaching the intersection, the driver
was busy asking his conductor if the bus was full or not. And
when he turned his attention to the road & saw the stopped
1 Sec. 35. Restriction as to speed.(a) Any person driving a motor vehicle on a
highway shall drive the same at a careful and prudent speed, not greater nor less
vehicles & the jeepney crossing the intersection, there was than is reasonable and proper, having due regard for the traffic, the width of the
no more room to stop without slamming into the stopped highway, and or any other condition then and there existing; and no person shall
vehicles. The bus driver chose to gamble on proceeding & drive any motor vehicle upon a highway at such a speed as to endanger the life,
limb and property of any person, nor at a speed greater than will permit him to bring
even had to overtake the stopped vehicles but collided w/ the vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.xxx xxx xxx
the jeepney, which was at the right of way and was crossing Sec. 41. Restrictions on overtaking and passing.(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not
at the intersection. drive to the left side of the center line of a highway in overtaking or passing another
vehicle, proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible, and
is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking
RTC: In favor of jeepney & the injured passenger Shinyo; Bus or passing to be made in safety.
company liable for damages xxx xxx xxx
a. 40 k - pay the owner of the wrecked jeepney + 5k - attys (c) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake or pass any other vehicle proceeding in
fees & litigation expenses the same direction, at any railway grade crossing, or at any intersection of
highways, unless such intersection or crossing is controlled by traffic signal, or
b. 35K - the medical expenses of the injured passenger unless permitted to do so by a watchman or a peace officer, except on a highway
c. 30k - 2nd operation of the injured passenger to remove nail having two or more lanes for movement of traffic in one direction where the driver of
from his femur a vehicle may overtake or pass another vehicle on the right. Nothing in this section
d. 50k - moral damages for pain & suffering inflicted upon shall be construed to prohibit a driver overtaking or passing, upon the right, another
vehicle which is making or about to make a left turn.
defendant
The presumption arose that the bus driver was negligent
which it failed to overthrow such. The bus driver tried to SC: The lower courts overlooked the fact that the bus driver was
shift the blame upon the jeepney driver for the latters grossly & criminally negligent in his reckless disregard of the rights
failure to stop. But the jeepney driver, seeing the cars of other vehicles and their passengers and of pedestrians as well.
closest to the intersection on the opposite side of the SC is entitled to take judicial notice of the gross negligence
highway come to a stop to give way to him, had the right to and the appalling disregard of the physical safety and
assume that other vehicles further away and behind the property of others so commonly exhibited today by the
stopped cars would similarly come to a stop. drivers of passenger buses and similar vehicles on our
The bus driver has the responsibility to see to it that before highways.
overtaking, the left lane of the road within the intersection &
beyond it was clear. Here, the point of impact was on the left The law requires petitioner as common carrier to exercise
side of the intersection, which was precisely the lane, or side extraordinary diligence in carrying and transporting their
on which the jeepney had a right to be. passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can
provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious
As to the moral damages: persons, with due regard for all the circumstances.
The owners (employer) of the bus assails the moral In requiring the highest possible degree of diligence from
damages since it was the bus driver who was negligent & common carriers and creating a presumption of negligence
not them. against them, the law compels them to curb the
recklessness of their drivers.
SC: The patent and gross negligence on the part of petitioner While the immediate beneficiaries of the standard of
Kapalarans driver raised the legal presumption that Kapalaran as extraordinary diligence are, of course, the passengers
employer was guilty of negligence either in the selection or in the and owners of cargo carried by a common carrier,
supervision of its bus drivers. they are not the only persons that the law seeks to
Where the employer is held liable for damages, it has of benefit.
course a right of recourse against its own negligent For if common carriers carefully observed the statutory
employee. standard of extraordinary diligence in respect of their own
The employers liability for the for the acts and negligence passengers, they cannot help but simultaneously benefit
of its bus driver is not merely subsidiary, and is not limited pedestrians and the owners and passengers of other
to cases where the employee cannot pay his liability, nor vehicles who are equally entitled to the safe and
are private respondents compelled first to proceed against convenient use of our roads and highways.
the bus driver. The law seeks to stop and prevent the slaughter and
The liability of the employer under Article 2180 of the Civil maiming of people (whether passengers or not) and the
Code is direct and immediate; it is not conditioned upon destruction of property (whether freight or not) on
prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior our highways by buses, the very size and power of which
showing of the insolvency of such employee. seem often to inflame the minds of their drivers.
The injured passenger died during the pendency of the this Article 2231 of the Civil Code explicitly authorizes the
petition, which was hastened due to the serious nature of imposition of exemplary damages in cases of quasi-
his injuries due to the collision. delicts if the defendant acted with gross
negligence.
As to the exemplary damages deleted by the CA:
CA said there was no basis for the award since it was not Here, it is not only the demands of social justice but also the
such a reprehensible act to try to gather witnesses for ones compelling considerations of public policy noted above which
cause and that there was no evidence of use of pressure or impelled the SC to restore the award of exemplary damages.
influence to induce the accident victims to perjure
themselves. CA decision affirmed but award of damages modified:
a. Examplary damages to Shinyo restored & increased from
10k to 25k
b. 15k of attys fees to Shinyo restored