Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff was driving on the road when a bus coming toward her and forced her to make a right turn. She then collided with another car. Plaintiff claimed defendant was the owner of the bus and sued.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
It is not enough to prove actual causation only because mathematically the chances somewhat favor a proposition to be proved.
The most that can be said of the evidence in the instant case is that perhaps the mathematical chances somewhat favor the proposition that a bus of the defendant caused the accident.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff was driving an automobile on Main Street on the day of the accident. She was forced by a bus coming toward her to turn right, and then she collided with another parked car. Plaintiff claimed that defendant was the owner of the bus that forced her to turn. She sued defendant who operated the local bus line that had a route on that street.
Whether there was evidence for the jury to determine that the plaintiff was injured by the defendant’s bus operated by one of its employees in the course of employment?
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed trial court decision.
This case is rather straight forward as the Court noted that plaintiff’s claim that defendant owned the bus was merely a matter of conjecture. Although defendant owned the sole franchise for operating a bus line on Main Street, it did not preclude other private or chartered buses from using the street. It was very possible that someone else operated the bus in question other than the defendant.
The most favorable evidence to plaintiff was the mathematical probability somewhat favored the proposition that a bus of the defendant caused the accident. However, this Court emphasized that mere mathematical chances were not enough to prove actual causation. A proposition is proved by a preponderance of the evidence if it is made to appear more likely or probable in the sense that actual belief in its truth, derived from the evidence, exists in the mind or minds of the tribunal notwithstanding any doubts that may still linger there.
The court thus held that trial court was correct and ruled in favor of defendant.