Chaffin v. Brame
233 N.C. 377, 64 S.E.2d 276 (1951)

  • Chaffin was driving at night and was blinded by Garland, who refused to dim her headlights. As a result, Chaffin ran into Brame’s truck, which was parked in the middle of the street. Chaffin sued.
  • The Trial Court found for Chaffin. Brame appealed.
    • The Trial Court found that Brame shouldn’t have left his truck parked in the middle of the street.
    • Brame unsuccessfully argued that Chaffin was guilty of contributory negligence.
      • It is generally considered contributory negligence to drive your vehicle at an unsafe speed for the driving conditions.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed.
    • The Appellate Court found that Chaffin reasonably expected Garland to dim her lights, and reasonably slowed down, therefore there was no contributory negligence.
  • The standard established by this case is that a person must drive in a reasonable care under the circumstances. This is a fact for the jury to decide.
    • This is opposed to a rule, such as you shouldn’t drive faster than 55 mph.
    • In general, negligence cases turn on standards, not rules.
      • There might be times where driving faster than 55 is reasonable, or times where driving within the speed limit is still unreasonable.