A plaintiff sued a bus company after sustaining injuries when the bus violated a Wisconsin statute requiring buses to park within twelve inches of the curb.
If a person not of a protected class suffers harm outside of the harm proscribed by the statute designed to protect a certain class of people, the harm suffered by the non-protected individual does not constitute negligence per se.
Wisconsin statutes require that buses park within twelve inches of the curb and the plaintiff was injured when a bus parked more than twelve inches away from the curb. The plaintiff sued the bus company claiming negligence per se and the trial court granted judgment in favor of the bus company.
Whether negligence per se is applied when a non-protected citizen suffers harm outside of the harm that a statute is designed to protect for a certain class of citizens.
No. A statute is not held to be the standard of a reasonable man and therefore the violate of a statute will not constitute negligence per se if the purpose of the statute is to protect a class of people that the plaintiff is not a member of. The purpose of the statute was to protect the safety of vehicles that are passing by the buses, rather than the safety of pedestrians entering and exiting the parked buses. The violation of the statute is not negligence per se in this case because the statute was not designed to protect persons exiting buses.
If a statute is designed to protect a particular class of people against a certain kind of harm, than a plaintiff cannot prevail on negligence per se charges if the plaintiff is not within that particular class of persons and does not suffer the harm that is protected by the statute.