Torts I

Delair v. McAdoo

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1936

Facts:

The defendant was driving his vehicle behind the plaintiff and tried to pass him. While left of plaintiff in the process, his left rear tire blew out, causing his car to serve and hit the plaintiff's car. Two witnesses said that the tire was worn through, although the defendant denies this.

Procedural History:

Page 158—159

The jury found for the plaintiff in the sum of $7,500. The court below granted defendant a new trial on the ground that the verdict was excessive, but refused his motion for a judgment n.o.v. Its ruling on the latter motion is here for review.

Issue:

Are drivers liable for blowouts they were not aware would happen?

Plaintiff's Argument:

Page 158

[D]efendant was negligent in driving with defective tires.

Rules:

  • Drivers must be aware of the flaws and faults that would be noticed by a reasonable inspection.

  • Bell's: The person whose conduct is being evaluated is deemed to have the knowledge that the ordinary prudent person would have.

Reasoning:

The tire was said to have been very visibly worn and dangerous. Whether or not the defendant knew of that or that that would lead to a blowout, a driver should see and understand such things.

Holding:

Yes, drivers are liable for foreseeable blowouts even if they were not aware they would happen. Order affirmed.

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