Worker for D left the keys to the cab in the ignition and left it on the cab on the curb.
The cab was stolen and crashed into P's property.
P sued D in negligence per se since there is a statute that prohibits drivers from leaving their cars unattended with the keys in them.
D argues that the statute is a public safety measure and not an anti-theft measure, so it does not establish a standard of care.
Trial court found for P.
Appellate court found for P.
IL Supreme Court affirmed, found for P.
Does a P who bases his claim on a theory of negligence due to a D's violation of a statute have to prove that his injuries were directly and proximately caused by the violation?
A P who bases his claim on a theory of negligence due to a D's violation of a statute has to prove that his injuries were directly and proximately caused by the violation.
Legislative intent should be examined in determining if negligence should be extended to a D for violation of a statute. In this case, the statute is a public safety measure.
The court must also look at the type of harm that the legislature was intending to prevent. The motivation of the statute had to be protection of life, limb, and property through prevention of a hazard.
Violation of a statute itself is prima facie evidence of negligence; the injury must have a direct and proximate connection with the violation in order to make D liable.
This is tricky since there was an intervening third party (the thief); however, if the intervening criminal act might reasonably have been foreseeable, then the causal chain is not broken.
Questions of due care, negligence, and proximate cause are normally jury issues.
The court said that the statute is a public safety measure and not an anti-theft measure, but then assumes that the D could foresee the stealing of the car.
Courts are generally liberal in construction of statutes and read the statute as intending to prevent a variety of harms.