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Transportation Case Digest: Isaac v. A.L. Ammen Trans. Co. (1957)

G.R.No. L-9671    August 23, 1957
Lessons Applicable: Legal Effect (Transportation)


  • May 31, 1951: Cesar Isaac boarded Bus No. 31 from Ligao, Albay bound for Pili, Camarines Sur and seated himself on the left side resting his left arm on the window sill but with his left elbow outside the window
    • Before reaching his destination, a pick-up car at full speed and was running outside of its proper lane came from the opposite direction 
      • The driver of the bus swerved the bus to the very extreme right of the road until its front and rear wheels have gone over the pile of stones or gravel situated on the rampart of the road. 
      • The bus could not bus farther right and run over a greater portion of the pile of gravel, the peak of which was about 3 feet high, without endangering the safety of his passengers. 
      • Despite efforts, the rear left side of the bus was hit by the pick-up car
    • He was rushed to a hospital in Iriga, Camarines Sur where he was given blood transfusion to save his life
  • After 4 days, he was transferred to another hospital in Tabaco, Albay, where he under went treatment for 3 months
  • Later, he was moved to the Orthopedic Hospital where he was operated on and stayed for another 2 months. 
  • He incurred expenses of P623.40, excluding medical fees which were paid by A.L. Ammen Trans. Co.
  • Trial Court: Dismissed the complaint - collision occurred due to the negligence of the driver of the pick-up car
ISSUE: W/N if there is no negligence on the part of the common carrier but that the accident resulting in injuries is due to causes which are inevitable and which could not have been avoided or anticipated notwithstanding the exercise of that high degree of care and skill which the carrier is bound to exercise for the safety of his passengers neither the common carrier nor the driver is liable therefor

HELD: YES.  Appealed decision is AFFIRMED.

ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extra ordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them according to all the circumstances of each case.

Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary diligence for the safety of the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756 Ooom.

ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.

ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755.

  • principles governing the liability of a common carrier: 
  1. the liability of a carrier is contractual and arises upon breach of its obligation. There is breach if it fails to exert extraordinary diligence according to all circumstances of each case
  2. a carrier is obliged to carry its passenger with the utmost diligence of a very cautious person, having due regard for all the circumstances
  3. a carrier is presumed to be at fault or to have acted negligently in case of death of, or injury to, passengers, it being its duty to prove that it exercised extraordinary diligence
  4. the carrier is not an insurer against all risks of travel
  • where a carrier's employee is confronted with a sudden emergency, the fact that he is obliged to act quickly and without a chance for deliberation must be taken into account, and he is held to the some degree of care that he would otherwise be required to exercise in the absence of such emergency but must exercise only such care as any ordinary prudent person would exercise under like circumstances and conditions, and the failure on his part to exercise the best judgment the case renders possible does not establish lack of care and skill on his part
    • Considering all the circumstances, we are persuaded to conclude that the driver of the bus has done what a prudent man could have done to avoid the collision 
  • It is true that Isaac's contributory negligence cannot relieve A.L. Ammen of its liability but will only entitle it to a reduction of the amount of damage caused (Article 1762, new Civil Code), but this is a circumstance which further militates against the position taken by Isaac