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LAYUGAN vs INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, The doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is particular to
GODOFREDO ISIDRO, and TRAVELLERS MULTI-INDEMNITY CORPORATION the law of negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be
GR. No. L-73998 November 14, 1988 established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof
of negligence.
Ponente: Sarmiento, J.
The doctrine is not a rule of substantive law but merely a mode of
Digest Author: HABAWEL, Kirsten Denise B. 11593709 proof or a mere procedural convenience. The rule, when applicable to the
facts and circumstances of a particular case, is not intended to and does not
TOPIC: Doctrine of res ipsa loquitur dispense with the requirement of proof of culpable negligence on the part
DOCTRINES: of the party charged. It merely determines and regulates what shall be
Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur defined: prima facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving
a breach of the duty of due care.
"Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the
management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary The presumption of negligence on the part of the master or
course of things does not happen if those who have the management use employer is juris tantum and not juris et de jure and consequently,
proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an explanation may be rebutted; It may be overcome by proof that the employer
by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
Black's Law Dictionary puts it: Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for or supervision of his employees.
itself. Rebuttable presumption or inference that defendant was negligent,
which arises upon proof that instrumentality causing injury was in FACTS:
defendant's exclusive control, and that the accident was one which Petitioner Pedro T. Layugan filed an action for damages against
ordinarily does not happen in absence of negligence. Respondent Godofredo Isidro.
Res ipsa loquitur is rule of evidence whereby negligence of alleged
On May 15, 1979, Petitioner Layugan and his companion were
wrongdoer may be inferred from the mere fact that the accident happened
provided character accident and circumstances attending it lead reasonably repairing the tire of their cargo truck which was parked along the National
to belief that in absence of negligence it would not have occurred and that Highway in Baretbet, Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, when defendants truck,
thing which caused injury is shown to have been under management and recklessly driven by Daniel Serrano, bumped Layugan. As a result, he was
control of alleged wrongdoer. Hillen v. Hooker Const. Co., Tex. Civ. App., 484 hospitalized and incurred expenses.
S.W. 2d 113, 115. Defendant was declared in default, plaintiffs evidence was received
Under doctrine of "res ipsa loquitur" the happening of an injury
ex-parte, the decision was set aside to give a chance to defendant to file his
permits an inference of negligence where plaintiff produces substantial
evidence that injury was caused by an agency or instrumentality under answer, and later on a third party complaint.
exclusive control and management of defendant, and that the occurrence Defendant Isisdro admitted ownership of the vehicle involved in the
was such that in the ordinary course of things would not happen if accident. He countered that Layugan was merely a bystander, not a truck
reasonable care had been used. helper being the brother-in-law of the driver of said truck; that the truck
being repaired occupied almost half of the right lane towards Solano, N.V.,
The doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur can be invoked when and only right after the curve; that the proximate cause of the incident was the failure
when, under the circumstance involved, direct evidence is absent
of the driver of the parked vehicle to install the early warning device, hence
and not readily available.
the driver of the parked car must answer for the damages sustained by the
truck of Isidro in the amount of Php 20,000, that plaintiff being a mere
bystander or hitchhiker must suffer all the damages he incurred. The Intermediate Appellate Court reversed the Lower courts
Respondent-Defendants counterclaim; attorneys fees, moral damages. decision and dismissed the complaint and counter claims. Hence this
A third party complaint was filed by Respondent Isidro against his Petition.
insurer Travellers Multi Indemnity Corporation (TMIC): Without admitting his Isidro submits that any immobile object along the highway, like the
liability, Isidro claimed that TMIC is liable for contribution, indemnity and parked vehicle, poses a serious danger to a moving vehicle which has the
damages, by virtue of their Insurance Policy which covers damages arising right to be there. He proffers that the burden to prove that care and
from death, bodily injuries and damage to property. Third party defendant diligence was observed, (using and early warning devie) falls on Layugan, as
TMIC answered that even if the subject matter is covered by the Insurance he claims that his vehicle had the right to be there, and not the immobile
Policy, its liability shall in no case exceed the limit defined in the terms and vehicle. Isidro concludes that absent of such proof of care and diligence,
conditions stated therein, that complaint is premature, that the accident in under the doctrine of res ips loquitur, would evoke the presumption of
question was approximately caused by the carelessness of Layugan. negligence on the part of the driver of the parked vehicle as well as his
Layugan declared that he is a married man with one child and that helper.
he works as a security guard in Mandaluying City and on his free time, as a
truck helper. Due to the accident, his left leg was amputated and could no ISSUE:
longer support his family sufficiently.
Respondent Isidro testified that his vehicle in the accident was 1. Whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur will apply? NO.
insured with TMIC covering own damage and third party liability, that after 2. Did Isidro exercise the right amount of care to relieve him from the
he filed his claim, the insurance company paid him Php 18,000 for the liability for the negligence of his employee? NO.
damages sustained by his vehicle but not for the third party liability.
Respondents driver Daniel Serrano declared that he gave his RULING:
statement to the Bagabag police, that he knew his responsibility as a driver, Isidros contention is untenable because the records disclose that
that the truck owner instructed him to be careful in driving and that he about 3 or 4 meters from the rear of the parked vehicle was a lighted
bumped the truck being repaired by Layugan while the same was stopped. kerosene lamp, and admission on the part of Serrano that as he was driving,
From the evidence presented, it had been clearly established that the headlight of the approaching vehicle blinded him and that he did not
the injuries sustained by Layugan were caused by Driver Serrano. Police notice the parked vehicle being repaired, that as he stepped on the breaks,
report confirmed that while Layugan was repairing the parked truck, the it did not work.
impact caused the jack to dislodge and pin down Layugan, causing injury to Absence or want of care by Daniel Serrano has been established by
his left forearm and left leg, which had to be amputated when gangrene had clear and convincing evidence. It follows that in stamping its imprimatur
set in, thereby rendering him incapacitated for work. upon the invocation by Respondent Isidro of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur
The Trial Court held in favour of Layugan, ordering Isidro to pay to escape the liability for the negligence of his employee, the respondent
Php70,000 as actual and compensatory damages, Php 2,000 attorneys fees, court committed reversible error. (see discussion on res ipsa loquitur in
Php 5,000 moral damages, plus cost of suit. The lower Court ordered TMIC DOCTRINES portion)
to indemnify Isidro Php 50,000 for actual and compensatory damages, plus In disclaiming liability for the incident, the private respondent
cost of suit. stresses that the negligence of his employee has already been adequately
overcome by his driver's statement that he knew his responsibilities as a
driver and that the truck owner used to instruct him to be careful in driving.
Respondents submission is untenable. In the first place, it is clear
that the driver did not know his responsibilities because he apparently did
not check his vehicle before he took it on the road. If he did he could have
discovered earlier that the brake fluid pipe on the right was cut, and could
have repaired it and thus the accident could have been avoided.
Moveover, the fact that the private respondent used to instruct his
driver to be careful in his driving, that the driver was licensed, and the fact
that he had no record of any accident, as found by the respondent court, are
not sufficient to destroy the finding of negligence of the Regional Trial
Court given the facts established at the trial.
The private respondent or his mechanic, who must be competent,
should have conducted a thorough inspection of his vehicle before allowing
his driver to drive it. In the light of the circumstances obtaining in the case,
we hold that Isidro failed to prove the-diligence of a good father of a family
in the supervision of his employees which would exculpate him from
solidary liability with his driver to the petitioner. Even if respondent is able
to prove that he had proved the diligence of a good father in the selection of
the driver, he would still have to prove the same for the mechanic.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the
respondent court as well as its Resolution denying the petitioner's motion
for reconsideration are. hereby SET ASIDE and the decision of the trial court,
dated January 20, 1983, is hereby REINSTATED in toto. With costs against the
private respondents.