“ANO EPEKTO KUNG ANG ISA SA MGA INVOLVED SA ROAD ACCIDENT AY NAGVIOLATE NG TRAFFIC LAW?”
“ATTY., NA-AKSIDENTE PO KAMI SA KALYE, YONG DRIVER NA BUMANGGA SA AKIN AY NAGCOUNTERFLOW AT WALA LISENSIYA, HINDI NA AKO NAKAIWAS, SINO PO MAY LIABILITY?”
ANG BATAS AY NAGBIBIGAY NG SAPANTAHA O PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE O KAPABAYAAN SA ISANG ROAD ACCIDENT LABAN SA TAONG NAGVIOLATE NG TRAFFIC LAWS. KUNG SA ORAS NG ROAD ACCIDENT AY NAGVIOLATE SIYA NG TRAFFIC LAW, SIYA AY CONSIDERED NG BATAS NA MAY SALA AT MAY LIABILITY NA MAGBAYAD NG DAMAGE DAHIL SA NASABING AKSIDENTE.
Marami ang nagtatanong sa E-Lawyers Online kung may laban ba ang isang driver na expired ang lisensiya o nagviolate ng traffic laws na makaiwas sa liability kung siya ay involved sa isang road accident. Ganito ang problem ng isang reader ng E-Lawyers Online:
“Atty., expired po license ko at nakadamage ako ng kotse sa kalye dahil angsingitan kami pero malinaw na siya naman ang may kasalanan. May lusot ba ako doon atty.?”
“Hello atty., sino po ba dapat managot sa damage ng sasakyan ko, yong kotse na nasa tamang linya na bumangga sa akin o ang nagcounterflow na kotse na bumangga sa kanya?”
Sa road accident, ang unang tinitingnan ng pulis o traffic enforcer ay kung sino ang may negligence o kapabayaan upang siya ang managot sa batas ng damages at magbayad. Dapat nilang patunayan na sila ay maayos ang pagmamaneho at sila ay sumusunod sa batas trapiko. Ayon sa Article 2185 ng New Civil Code na ang tao na nagviolate o lumabag sa batas trapiko ay nagbibigay ang batas ng presumption of negligence at siya ay tinuturo ng batas na siya ang may kasalanan. Ang example ng violation of traffic laws ay walang lisensya o expired ito, overspeeding, sirang signal lights, drunk driving, nakikipagusap sa cellphone at iba pa.
Article 2185, New Civil Code; Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.
Lahat ng violation of traffic law ay nagbibigay ng ganitong presumption?
Hindi. Ayon sa Supreme Court, kailangan pa rin na may koneksyon ang pagviolate ng traffic law sa nangyaring road accident upang maging liable ang tao. Ito ay sa kaso ni Tison vs Pomasin [G.R. No. 173180, August 24, 2011]:
“Driving without a proper license is a violation of traffic regulation. Under Article 2185 of the Civil Code, the legal presumption of negligence arises if at the time of the mishap, a person was violating any traffic regulation. However, in Sanitary Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we held that a causal connection must exist between the injury received and the violation of the traffic regulation. It must be proven that the violation of the traffic regulation was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that it substantially contributed thereto. Negligence, consisting in whole or in part, of violation of law, like any other negligence, is without legal consequence unless it is a contributing cause of the injury. Likewise controlling is our ruling in Aonuevo v. Court of Appeals where we reiterated that negligence per se, arising from the mere violation of a traffic statute, need not be sufficient in itself in establishing liability for damages. In said case, Aonuevo, who was driving a car, did not attempt to establish a causal connection between the safety violations imputed to the injured cyclist, and the accident itself. Instead, he relied on a putative presumption that these violations in themselves sufficiently established negligence appreciable against the cyclist. Since the onus on Aonuevo is to conclusively prove the link between the violations and the accident, we can deem him as having failed to discharge his necessary burden of proving the cyclists own liability. We took the occasion to state that:
The rule on negligence per se must admit qualifications that may arise from the logical consequences of the facts leading to the mishap. The doctrine (and Article 2185, for that matter) is undeniably useful as a judicial guide in adjudging liability, for it seeks to impute culpability arising from the failure of the actor to perform up to a standard established by a legal fiat. But the doctrine should not be rendered inflexible so as to deny relief when in fact there is no causal relation between the statutory violation and the injury sustained. Presumptions in law, while convenient, are not intractable so as to forbid rebuttal rooted in fact. After all, tort law is remunerative in spirit, aiming to provide compensation for the harm suffered by those whose interests have been invaded owing to the conduct of other.”
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