From Barely Legal:
Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where the gang was at the hospital, and a mental patient jumped off the roof and landed on George’s car? When George went to talk to the hospital administrator, she was appalled by him asking for the hospital to pay for the damages. Assuming his insurance wouldn’t cover it, doesn’t he still have a claim for negligence against the hospital?
1- The hospital owed George a duty of care, in that they owed everyone in and around the hospital a duty to protect them from harm caused by a mental patient under the hospital’s care.
2- The hosptial clearly breached their duty by allowing the mental patient to escape and ultimately jump off the building.
3- The hosptial’s breach of duty caused the damage to George’s car. But for the hospital’s negligence, George’s car would not have been damaged.
4- Proximate Cause: The tricky issue in negligence. Certainly it is reasonably forseeable that an unsupervised mental patient could harm a person in or around the hospital. If I remember correctly, the exact kind of harm that occurred does not have to be forseeable, just that the victim was reasonably forseeable. George, as a visitor to the hospital, was certianly a reasonalby forseeable victim.
5- There was actual harm done.
None of the defenses apply. There was no superceding cause; the hospital may argue that the patient jumping was one, but the duty the hospital had was to supervise the patient, including suicide prevention.
There is no assumption of risk or contributory negligence. George was parked legally in the street, and did nothing wrong. Nor did he in any way consent, either expressly or impliedly, to having his car subject to damage from escaped mental patients.
George should have sued.