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PATRICIA SURGENT v. JULES STEIN AND TIMOTHY E. DAVIS (07/25/80)

filed: July 25, 1980.

PATRICIA SURGENT, APPELLANT,
v.
JULES STEIN AND TIMOTHY E. DAVIS



No. 1558 APRIL TERM, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, at No. GD 76-01759 Civil Division.

COUNSEL

Alan Lee Carb, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

William W. Guthrie, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Spaeth, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ. Spaeth, J., files a concurring opinion.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 144]

This case arose as a result of an automobile collision that occurred on July 3, 1975 on Monroeville Boulevard in Allegheny County. The appellant was a passenger in an automobile owned and operated by Jules Stein, appellee, when it was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Timothy E. Davis, also an appellee. As a consequence of the collision, the appellant brought an action in trespass against the drivers of the two cars, alleging personal injuries as a result of being thrown against the dashboard of the Stein car.

On appellant's motion,*fn1 the case was tried on a bifurcated basis on the separated issues of liability and damages, a procedure sanctioned by P.R.C.P. 213(b).

After testimony, the jury found in favor of the appellant and against both drivers on the issue of liability. The trial then resumed before the same jury on the issue of damages. Appellant testified and offered the further testimony of two lay witnesses and a doctor. The appellee Stein called a

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 145]

    single witness, a doctor. The appellee Davis did not participate in the trial. The jury returned a verdict of "no injury-no damages", on the basis of which the Court directed a verdict in favor of the appellees.

Appellant filed post-trial motions for a judgment in her favor on the issue of damages, or, in the alternative, a new trial. The motions were denied by the Court en banc and judgment entered for the appellees. Appellant has appealed this ruling, and petitions that a new trial be granted, limited to the issue of damages. We deny the request.

Appellant contends that since the jury found in her favor on the issue of liability, it must of necessity award her damages. We cannot agree, for even if the negligence of the appellees is established, appellant still has the burden of proving that this negligence was the proximate cause of injury or damage to her. Brodhead v. Brentwood Ornamental Iron Co., 435 Pa. 7, 10, 255 A.2d 120 (1969). Furthermore, it does not follow that because there was a collision the appellant was necessarily injured. Fortunately, collisions without injury are commonplace. The jury concluded that, in this instance, the appellant was neither injured nor suffered damage.

Appellant also asserts that such a verdict was contrary to all the evidence, not only of her witnesses, but of Dr. Samuel Sherman who examined the appellant on behalf of the appellee Stein. The contention that Dr. Sherman corroborated the appellant's claim of injury and damages is based upon a single answer to a question in cross-examination ...


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