Van Camp v. McAfoos
261 Iowa 1124, 156 N.W.2d 878 (1968)
McAfoos was driving a tricycle down a public sidewalk and
ran over Van Camp, injuring her leg. Surgery was required.
McAfoos' actions were the direct and proximate cause
of Van Camp's injury.
McAfoos was only 3 years old when the accident occurred
(which explains the tricycle).
The Trial Court upheld McAfoos' motion to dismiss. Van
McAfoos was not found to be negligent because he was too young to have the capacity to act in a non-negligent manner.
McAfoos was not found to have acted in a willful
or malicious manner.
Appellate Court affirmed the motion to dismiss.
Van Camp unsuccessfully argued that there are categories
of tort liability other than negligence.
Van Camp claimed that, "a person has the right to
not be injuriously touched as she lawfully uses a public sidewalk."
Without willful action or negligence on the part of the
defendant, there is no cause for action that would allow for
recovery as a tort claim.
Unlike Contract Law, in Tort Law, there is no strict
liability. There can't be liability without fault.
Although, Van Camp wasn't at fault either, why should
she bear all the liability for the accident?
Historically, you used to be able to recover under strict
liability, but under modern tort law, there must be fault. There are a few exceptions though. For example, product liability is still usually considered a strict liability issue.