I was driving my car along C5 Road on June 12. I stepped on the brake when I reached the intersection, and I noticed that the traffic light was red. While waiting for the traffic light to turn green, a speeding motorcycle coming from the opposite direction suddenly hit my car.
A police investigation was conducted. The motorcycle rider suffered broken ribs because of the incident. It was also found out that he was positive for alcohol intake. But to my dismay, I was charged for reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries. I am aggrieved because I know I was not negligent. The motorcycle rider was at fault, yet I am the one being charged for an offense. Please help me.
A person may be held criminally liable if he is committing a felony although the wrongful act done was different from that intended; and if he is performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means (Article 4, Revised Penal Code of the Philippines).
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place (Article 365, Ibid.).
In the situation you presented, you were not reckless because you observed traffic rules and regulations when the incident happened. You stopped your car at the intersection and waited for the traffic light to turn green; thus, you observed the diligence required under the circumstance. The motorcycle rider should be made liable for his injuries, because his negligence was the proximate cause of the damage that he suffered (broken ribs).
The Supreme Court elucidates on the meaning of the proximate cause:
“Proximate cause is defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. And more comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom”(Dumayag vs People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 172778, November 26, 2012).
In view of the foregoing, you may not be held criminally liable for the injury sustained by the motorcycle rider.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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