Summary of Carter v. Hinkle
52 S.E.2d 135 (Va 1949)
Facts: P and D get into an auto accident. P brings action against D and the owner of the car for the property damages that he suffered in the accident. P prevails and then P brings another action against the Ds for his personal injuries. Ds move to dismiss.
Procedure: The trial court denied Ds’ motion to dismiss.
Issue: Did the accident give rise to two separate causes of action, one for property damages and one for personal injuries?
Rationale: The court followed the minority “primary rights" view under which property damages and personal injuries are two separate and distinct types of damages. The court reasoned that the number of a plaintiff’s rights determine the number of causes of actions because a plaintiff usually acts not to punish a defendant but to preserve his own rights.
Under the majority view, all damages arising out of a single incident must be brought together as one cause of action.