The Law School Authority

Carter v. Hinkle Case Brief

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?

Holding: Yes

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.

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