Susie Marks and her friends Jerry and Kate were at Elsewhere City Park. At 11:00 p.m., Officer Ruthless approached Susie and her friends and instructed them that the park was closed and that they needed to leave, or he would enforce curfew. Susie asked Ruthless if she could wait for her friend Orson or if she could just walk home. Ruthless then ordered Susie to get in the back of Jerry’s truck because he did not think it was safe for her to walk alone and it was not illegal for her to be in the back of the truck. Jerry had to make two stops before taking Susie home; one was next to Susie’s house, Susie did not get out. A half hour after leaving the park, Jerry lost control of the truck while making a left turn. Susie was seriously injured and had to miss her first semester of her senior year. Susie filed a complaint against the City of Elsewhere and others alleging that they were liable because Ruthless negligently ordered her to ride in the back of the truck.
Is the City of Elsewhere, Officer Ruthless, or others negligently liable for Susie’s injuries because Officer Ruthless ordered her to ride in the back of Jerry’s truck?
Actual cause requires that the negligent act, breach of duty (based on what a reasonable person would do), is the actual cause of the injuries (Hanes, 151). The negligent act has to be the cause of the injury. In this scenario Officer Ruthless was not the actual cause of the injury, the car accident in which Jerry was driving was the actual cause of the Susie’s injuries. Proximate cause is the negligent act which an injury results as a natural, direct, uninterrupted consequence, without the negligent act the injury would not have happened. In this scenario, I think that that Officer Ruthless was the proximate cause of Susie’s injuries. If Officer Ruthless would not have ordered her to ride in the back of the truck, then Susie would not have been in the truck and would not have been injured.