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Torts and Damages Case Digest: German Garcia et al., v. The Hon. Mariano M. Florido et al. (1973)

G.R. No. L-35095 August 31, 1973 
Lessons Applicable: Elements of Quasi-Delict (Torts and Damages)


  • August 4, 1971: German C. Garcia, Chief of the Misamis Occidental Hospital, his wife, Luminosa L. Garcia, and Ester Francisco, bookkeeper of the hospital, hired and boarded a PU car owned and operated by Marcelino Inesin, and driven by respondent, Ricardo Vayson, for a round-trip from Oroquieta City to Zamboanga City for the purpose of attending a conference 
  • August 4, 1971 9:30 a.m.: While the PU car was negotiating a slight curve on the national highway at 21 km, it collided with an oncoming passenger bus owned and operated by the Mactan Transit Co., Inc. and driven by Pedro Tumala
  • Garcia et al. sustained various physical injuries which necessitated their medical treatment and hospitalization
  • Garcia et al. filed an action for damages against both drivers and their owners for driving in a reckless, grossly negligent and imprudent manner in gross violation of traffic rules and without due regard to the safety of the passengers aboard the PU car
  • RTC: Dismissed the case because it is not quasi-delict because there is a violation of law or traffic rules or regulations for excessive speeding
ISSUE: W/N Garcia et al. can still file a civil action for quasi-delict despite having a criminal action.

HELD: YES. decision appealed reversed and set aside, and the court a quo is directed to proceed with the trial of the case
  • essential averments for a quasi-delictual action under Articles 2176-2194 of the New Civil Code are present, namely: 
    • a) act or omission of the private respondents
    • b) presence of fault or negligence or the lack of due care in the operation of the passenger bus No. 25 by Pedro Tumala resulting in the collision of the bus with the passenger car
    • c) physical injuries and other damages sustained by as a result of the collision
    • d) existence of direct causal connection between the damage or prejudice and the fault or negligence of private respondents
    • e) the absence of pre-existing contractual relations between the parties
  • violation of traffic rules is merely descriptive of the failure of said driver to observe for the protection of the interests of others, that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, which failure resulted in the injury on petitioners
  • petitioners never intervened in the criminal action instituted by the Chief of Police against respondent Pedro Tumala, much less has the said criminal action been terminated either by conviction or acquittal of said accused
  • It is, therefore, evident that by the institution of the present civil action for damages, petitioners have in effect abandoned their right to press recovery for damages in the criminal case, and have opted instead to recover them in the present civil case
  • petitioners have thereby foreclosed their right to intervene therein, or one where reservation to file the civil action need not be made, for the reason that the law itself (Article 33 of the Civil Code) already makes the reservation and the failure of the offended party to do so does not bar him from bringing the action, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, We find no legal justification for respondent court's order of dismissal