The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moss, Justice.
April 9, 1958.
This is an action brought by S.P. Padgett, the respondent herein, against the Colonial Wholesale Distributing Company, the appellant, to recover damages for personal injuries sustained on November 26, 1955.
The complaint alleges that the injury to the person of the respondent was directly and proximately caused by the negligent, careless, willful and wanton acts of the appellant in the operation of its truck. The complaint alleges that the truck was being driven at a rate of speed excessive under the circumstances and in violation of the statute law of this State; that the driver of said truck failed to have and keep same under control and to keep a proper lookout; and in failing to operate said truck with that degree of care which a reasonable and prudent person would have exercised under the circumstances. The appellant's answer was a general denial.
The case was tried before the County Court of Richland County and resulted in a verdict for the respondent for actual and punitive damages. At appropriate stages of the trial, the appellant moved for a nonsuit, directed verdict, judgment non obstante veredicto, and alternatively for a new trial. These motions were refused by the trial Judge.
The questions raised by the motions so made are: (1) Was there evidence of negligence on the part of the appellant? (2) If there was evidence of negligence, were respondent's injuries proximately caused thereby? (3) Was there evidence of willfulness? (4) Are damages recoverable for shock, fright and emotional upset when there is no physical impact?
Within due time the appellant served notice of intention to appeal to this Court. The exceptions of the appellant raise the same questions as are above stated.
It appears from the testimony that the respondent resides on U.S. Highway No. 21, in Lexington County, on the left-hand side of the road going towards Orangeburg from Columbia. The respondent testified that at approximately seven o'clock in the evening on November 26, 1955, he was seated in the front room of his home watching a television program. Suddenly he heard a terrible noise and there was a jarring of the residence. He testified that he got up and went to the front door and opened it. He found a wholesale liquor truck lying against the house. He testified that the impact of the truck with the house "broke off three or four of the asbestos shingles and knocked a hole on in through the wood". He also testified that he was in the yard after the accident for about two hours, either with the officers investigating the accident or in helping clean up the debris in the yard.
The appellant objected to and moved to strike out of the testimony the professional opinion of the physician on the ground that the emotional upset condition, shock and fright of the respondent could not be a basis of recovery unless there was tangible bodily injury inflicted upon him.
"Q. You were going about 55 miles an hour you say? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. I believe that the truck speed permitted by the South Carolina law is 45 miles an hour, isn't it? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. Isn't that right? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. And you were going over the speed limit to start with, according to what you say, about ten miles an hour? That's right, isn't it? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. I believe there is a sign almost right there, or a little further back that says: `Trucks 45, cars 55'. You've seen those driving ...