196 A.2d 842 (Pa. 1964), Sevast v. Lancaster Yellow Cab & Baggage, Inc.

Citation:196 A.2d 842, 413 Pa. 250
Opinion Judge:Author: Bell
Party Name:Gertrude R. SEVAST, Appellant, v. LANCASTER YELLOW CAB & BAGGAGE, INC.
Case Date:January 08, 1964
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 842

196 A.2d 842 (Pa. 1964)

413 Pa. 250

Gertrude R. SEVAST, Appellant,

v.

LANCASTER YELLOW CAB & BAGGAGE, INC.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

January 8, 1964.

        Rehearing Denied Feb. 5, 1964.

        James P. Coho, Lancaster, for appellant.

        Paul A. Mueller, Jr., Lancaster, Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Mueller, Lancaster, for appellee.

        Before BELL, C. J., and MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

        BELL, Chief Justice.

        Plaintiff (appellant) was a passenger in defendant's taxicab which was struck by another automobile. That automobile was so quickly driven away that its driver and owner are unknown. The jury returned a verdict for defendant; a new trial was refused; from [413 Pa. 251] the judgment entered on the verdict plaintiff has taken this appeal.

        Plaintiff contends that she is entitled to have her case submitted to the jury on the basis that an inference of negligence arises from the fact that defendant taxicab company is a common carrier; however, she impliedly denies that she is basing her contentions for a new trial on the exclusive control doctrine or on the res ipsa loquitur doctrine. In the light of a multitude of authorities including Killen v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 376 Pa. 320, 328-329, 102 A.2d 140, and Seburn v. Luzerne & Carbon County Motor Transit Co., 394 Pa. 577, 580, 148 A.2d 534, and our very recent decision in Izzi v. Philadelphia Transp. Co., Pa., 195 A.2d 784, it is obvious that plaintiff could not successfully contend that the doctrine of exclusive control or res ipsa loquitur apply. Moreover, under Killen v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 376 Pa. 320, 102 A.2d 140, supra, Seburn v. Luzerne & Carbon County Motor Transit Co., 394 Pa. 577, 148 A.2d 534, supra, and Izzi v. Philadelphia Transp. Co., Pa., 195 A.2d 784, supra, and the many cases cited therein, it is clear as

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crystal that the general principles of negligence apply to this case. 1

        Plaintiff contends that whenever an accident happens in which a common carrier is involved, an inference of negligence arises and the burden of proving reasonable care is always imposed upon the common carrier. There is no merit in this contention. The law is well settled that the mere happening of an accident in which a common carrier is involved, raises no inference or presumption of negligence on the part of the common carrier or of any other person involved. Killen v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 376 Pa. 320, 102 A.2d 140, supra; Miller v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 368 Pa. 507, 84 A.2d 200; Nebel v. Burrelli, 352 Pa. 70, 41 A.2d 873; Rich Hill [413 Pa. 252] Coal Company v. Bashore, 334 Pa. 449, 7 A.2d 302. See to the same effect, Bohner v. Eastern Express, Inc., 405 Pa. 463, 175 A.2d 864.

        In Killen v. Pennsylvania R. R. Co., 376 Pa. page 328-329, 102 A.2d page 144, supra, where the plaintiff was a passenger on defendant's train, the Court said:

        "* * * '* * * 'The mere fact of collision between a railway train and a vehicle at a highway grade crossing furnishes no basis for any inference...

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