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NITCH v. MOON. (12/29/61)

December 29, 1961

NITCH, APPELLANT,
v.
MOON.



Appeal, No. 45, March T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County, No. 261 Continuous Docket, 1959, in case of Helene E. Nitch v. Owen Moon. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Alexander Ogle, with him Samuel Shahade, and Shahade, Horty & Shahade, for appellant.

William L. Kimmel, with him Walker and Kimmel, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and Alpern, JJ.

Author: Alpern

[ 405 Pa. Page 475]

OPINION BY JUSTICE ALPERN.

The jury returned a verdict for the defendant in a trespass action filed by the plaintiff to recover for personal injuries and property damage alleged to have been sustained as the result of an automobile accident. The plaintiff assigns as error the refusal of the court below to grant binding instructions and the refusal of the court to grant a new trial.

There was considerable conflict in the testimony, both as to the severity of the collision in the case at bar and as to whether the injuries claimed resulted from this accident or from three prior automobile collisions in which plaintiff had been involved.

The plaintiff, Helene Nitch, was driving her children home from school on March 14, 1957, in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County. Her car was in a line of traffic several cars behind a school bus. The school bus stopped suddenly to discharge students. Plaintiff came to a sudden stop nine to ten feet from the car in front of her. She testified that her car was suddenly struck from behind and was pushed forward to within one inch of the car immediately in front of

[ 405 Pa. Page 476]

    hers. As a result of the collision she testified that she was roughly jerked around in the driver's seat, bumped against the steering wheel, and her head was jerked. Plaintiff stated that the point of collision was the center of the back bumper of her car. She claimed serious whiplash injuries as a result of the accident.

The defendant's version of the accident was that he was following about two or three car lengths behind the plaintiff. He testified that when the plaintiff stopped suddenly, he stopped suddenly about twelve to fifteen feet behind plaintiff's vehicle, and that his dinner bucket fell on the floor of his car. Defendant testified that when he reached down to pick up his dinner bucket, his car drifted into the plaintiff's car. The defendant described the drifting of the car as no more severe than experienced when one backs out of a parking place and touches another car. The defendant testified there was no damage to either car.

Plaintiff had the duty of proving not only negligence on the part of the defendant, but also that the negligence was the proximate cause of the injuries claimed. Freund v. Hyman, 377 Pa. 35, 103 A.2d 658 (1954). It is fundamental that there must be a casual connection between the negligent act and the injuries sustained. Scalise v. F. M. Venzie Co., 301 Pa. 315, 152 A. 90 (1930). Seemingly the jury believed that the contact between the cars, resulting from defendant's negligence in allowing his car to ...


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