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Petitioner Hedy Gan was driving along North Bay Boulevard on July 4, 1972. There were 2 vehicles parked on the right side of the road. As the petitioner approached the place where the vehicles were parked, a vehicle from the opposite direction tried to overtake another vehicle and encroached the lane of her car. To avoid collision, the petitioner swerved to the right and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was pinned to the rear of the parked jeepney and died on arrival to the hospital. Petitioner was found guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence by the trial court. The Corut of Appeals modified the decision and found her guilty of homicide through simple imprudence.
Whether the petitioner is negligent as to hold her guilty for the death of the pedestrian.
No, SC reverse.
The test for determining whether or not a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or property of another is this: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to whom negligence is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course about to be pursued? If so, the law imposes the duty oil the doer to take precaution against its mischievous results and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. A corollary rule is what is known in the law as the emergency rule. "Under that rule, one who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act without time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in which he finds himself is brought about by his own negligence." Applying the above test to the case at bar, we find the petitioner not guilty of the crime of Simple Imprudence resulting in Homicide.
The course of action suggested by the appellate court would seem reasonable were it not for the fact that such suggestion did not take into account the amount of time afforded petitioner to react to the situation she was in. For it is undeniable that the suggested course of action presupposes sufficient time for appellant to analyze the situation confronting her and to ponder on which of the different courses of action would result in the least possible harm to herself and to others. The appellate court is asking too much from a mere mortal like the petitioner who in the blink of an eye had to exercise her best judgment to extricate herself from a difficult and dangerous situation caused by the driver of the overtaking vehicle. Petitioner certainly could not be expected to act with all the coolness of a person under normal conditions. The danger confronting petitioner was real and imminent, threatening her very existence. She had no opportunity for rational thinking but only enough time to heed the very powerful instinct of self-preservation.