(Question A.1, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
In January 2018, Mrs. A, a married woman on her sixth (6th) month of pregnancy, was crossing a street when she was suddenly hit by a car being recklessly driven by Mr. X. As a result, Mrs. A sustained serious injuries and further, suffered an unintentional abortion. Mrs. A was hospitalized for two (2) months, during which she incurred ₱400,000.00 in medical fees. Her expenses were all duly substantiated by official receipts. During the two (2)-month period of her confinement, she was unable to report for work and earn any salary, which was established at the rate of ₱50,000.00 per month. Mrs. A then filed a civil case for damages against Mr. X.
(a) Based on the case filed by Mrs. A, what is the source of Mr. X’s obligation to her as a result of his acts? Explain. (2%)
(b) May Mrs. A claim actual damages from Mr. X? If so, how much can Mrs. A claim? Explain. (2%)
(c) May Mrs. A claim damages on behalf of her unborn baby? Explain. (3%)
(d) What must Mrs. A prove if she wants to recover moral damages from Mr. X? (2%)
(a) The source of Mr. X’s obligation is quasi-delict. Under the law, quasi-delict is one of the sources of obligations.
Under the Civil Code, whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of the Civil Code.
(b) Yes. Answer
Under the Civil Code, an injured party may recover actual damages resulting from quasi-delict. However, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. Under jurisprudence, loss of income partakes of the nature of actual damages. Rule
In the case at bar, Mrs. A may claim the following:
Php400,000.00 – for medical fees as they are substantiated by official receipts
+Php100,000.00 – for loss of income which was also established
Php500,000.00 – total amount for actual damages. Apply
Thus, Mrs. A may recover a total amount of Php500,000.00 by way of actual damages. Answer
(c) No. Answer
Under the Civil Code, birth determines personality. Rule
In the case at bar, the unborn baby has not yet acquired personality. Without personality, the unborn baby has no legal capacity to sue. Apply
Thus, Mrs. A cannot claim damages on behalf of her unborn baby. Conclusion
(d) Under the jurisprudence, moral damages may only be awarded when the claimant has sufficiently proved:
1) The factual foundation of the award; and
2) The causal connection of petitioner’s suffering to respondents’ act.
Thus, to recover moral damages, Mrs. A has to prove:
1) That facts which shall serve as the basis for moral damages – i.e. her being six (6) month pregnant, the car accident, the death of her unborn baby, and her being confined at the hospital for two months, among others; and
2) That she suffered all these resulting from the acts of Mr. X who reckless drove his car.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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