Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Zeni (Plaintiff), was injured when she was hit by the Defendant, Anderson’s (Defendant), car on her way to work. The Plaintiff was not using a sidewalk, but a snow path, and was therefore in violation of a statute requiring pedestrians to use sidewalks where available.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The violation of a statute creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence, which can be overcome by providing an adequate excuse as to why the statue was ignored.
Violation of a penal statute creates a prima facie case of negligence from which a jury may draw an inference of negligence.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the Plaintiff’s failure to use the sidewalk constituted contributory negligence.
Held. In a civil action for damages, violation of a statute creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence.
Discussion. Violation of a statute creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence, which can be overcome by showing that there was an adequate excuse or reason for such action under the circumstances of the case. The court declines to attach contributory liability to the Plaintiff because it was shown at trial that using the sidewalk would put the Plaintiff in danger of falling.