As plaintiff, an elderly lady, was alighting from one of defendant's buses which had stopped to discharge her and other passengers, the driver closed the door before she
Negligence is defined, broadly and generally speaking, as the failure to employ reasonable care — the care which the law's reasonably prudent man should use under the circumstances of a particular case. That being so, it may well be asked whether it is ever practicable for one to use more care than one reasonably can; whether it is ever reasonable for one to use less; or whether, in sum, there can ever be more than one degree of care. (See Pollock on Torts [14th ed.], pp. 352-353; Green, High Care and Gross Negligence, 23 Ill. L. Rev. 4; cf. O'Brien v. New York Rys. Co., 185 App. Div. 867, passim.) And, indeed, it has been said that to grade care into degrees, to differentiate between various degrees of care, is "unscientific", "most difficult of application", and "perplexing alike to bench and bar." (See, e.g., O'Brien v. New York Rys. Co., supra, 185 App. Div. 867, 870, 873.) All of this suggests a re-examination of those decisions wherein this court has upheld instructions by trial judges to the effect that a common carrier does, in certain situations, owe a "high", a "very high" or the "highest" degree of care in transporting its passengers. (See, e.g., Stierle v. Union Ry. Co., 156 N.Y. 684, denying reargument 156 N.Y. 70; Palmer v. Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., 120 N.Y. 170; Maverick v. Eighth Ave. R. R. Co., 36 N.Y. 378; Keegan v. Third Ave. R. R. Co., 34 App. Div. 297, affd. 165 N.Y. 622.)
We are not, however, here called upon to embark on such a study, and we express no opinion upon the subject, since, in any event, defendants could not have been harmed by the charge in question.
The judgment of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.