Martin v. Herzog

Martin v. Herzog

What Happened: Martin was driving his buggy during the night and was killed in a collision between his buggy and Herzog's car. It was dark when the accident occurred. Martin was driving without lights and Herzog did not keep to the right of the center of the highway. Martin alleged that Herzog was driving on the wrong side of the road. Herzog claimed that Martin was contributorily negligent for driving without headlights as required under the law.

Question Before the Court: Does a jury have the power to relax the duty that one traveler on the highway owes under a statute to another on the same highway? Is negligent conduct actionable by itself unless there is a showing that such conduct was the cause of the injuries incurred?

Court Ruling: The unexcused violation of a statutory duty is negligence per se and a jury does not have the power to relax the duty that one traveler on the highway owes under a statute to another on the same highway. Negligent conduct is not actionable by itself unless there is a showing that such conduct was the cause of the injuries incurred.