Ruth carelessly parks her car on a steep hill, leaving the car in neutral and failing to engage the parking brake. The car rolls down the hill, knocking down an electric line. The sparks from the broken line ignite a grass fire. The fire spreads until it reaches a barn one mile away. The barn houses dynamite, and the burning barn explodes, causing part of the roof to fall on and injure a passing motorist, Jim. Can Jim recover in negligence from Ruth? Why or why not?
Negligence occurs when someone suffers injury because another’s failure to live up to a required duty of care. Negligence is an unintentional tort, which the tortfeasor neither wishes to bring the consequences of the act nor believes that they will occur.
In this case, we have one negligences: Ruth left her car in neutral, and one strict liability: the barn’s owner have dynamite.
The first negligence, Ruth fails to comply a duty of care, creating the car to roll down the hill and knocking an electric line, causing a fire that burns the barn. However, Ruth’s negligence is not foreseeable, she could not prevent that it can cause a barn to explode and injure Jim.
To succeed in a negligence action, the plaintiff must prove each of the following:
1.- Duty. The defendant owed a duty of care. Ruth owed a duty of care to the citizens by leaving her car in parking.
2.- Breach. The defendant breaches that duty. Ruth breaches the duty of care because she leaves her car in neural, breaking the electrical line.
3.- Causation: The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Causation in fact: The injury would not have occurred if Ruth did not leave her car in neutral.
Proximate cause: it is foreseeable that if Ruth leaves her car in neutral someone can get injure; however, it is not foreseeable that if Ruth leaves her car in neutral a barn can exploited provoking an injury to Jim. Ruth action is not a proximate cause of Jim’s injury.
4.- Damages: The