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Cases involving negligence and ordinary care that have reached the Supreme Court of Washington State


Ward v. Zeugner, 64 Wash.2d 570, 292 P.2d 811, 814 (1964)

  • Even if the plaintiff violated a law and was guilty of negligence per se, this does not bar the plaintiff from recovery unless there is substantial evidence that the violation of the law proximately contributed to causing the accident. 

Bauman v. Complita, 66 Wash.2d 496, 497, 403 P.2d 347, 248-349 (1965)

  • The issue of contributory negligence is generally for the jury to decide in regards to all the facts and circumstances of the particular case. 

Bauman by Chapman v. Crawford, 104 Wash.2d 241, 704 P.2d 1181 (1985)

  1. Violation of statute by minor six to sixteen years of age does not constitute proof of negligence per se, but may, be introduced as evidence of minor’s negligence
  2. Violation of relevant statute by minor age six to sixteen might be considered as evidence of negligence only if jury finds that reasonable child of same age, intelligence, maturity, and experience as minor would have acted in violation of statute under same circumstances
  3. Ruling exempting minor from operation of negligence per se doctrine would apply prospectively and to any case already tried where issue of doctrine’s application to minor was preserved for appeal. 

Ordinary Care 

Robison v. Simard, 57 Wn.2d 850, 360 P.2d 153 (1961)

  • The court ruled that a driver must operate his car in a careful and prudent manner under prevailing conditions.  All drivers must exercise ordinary care.

Johnson v. Northern Pac. Ry. Co., 66 Wn.2d 614, 618, 404 P.2d 444 (1965)

  • A motorist must exercise a high degree of care for the safety of a minor using the highway, when the motorist observes the minor in a position of peril. 

Wright v. Engum, 124 Wn.2d 343, 878 P.2d 1198 (1994)

  • In order to impose liability, the jury had to find that driver either saw, or in exercising ordinary care, should have seen, a pedestrian in crosswalk.