EmergenciesWhere the plaintiff is in position of imminent danger by the negligence of the defendantthe courts are more sympathetic towards the plaintiff who makes a wrong decision whenhe is perplexed or nervous by a dangerous situation created by the defendant in order tosave himself or his property or sometimes to save a third person.In Jones v. Boycethe plaintiff was passenger on top o the defendant’s coach the couplingring of the coach broke and the coach was in a minute danger of overturning. Thinkingthat the coach was about to overturn and in order to save himself the plaintiff jumpedLecturer: Yash VyasPage 30
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LAW OF TORTSfrom the top deck of the coach and broke his leg. In fact the coach did not overturn andwhen the plaintiff sued for injuries suffered by hum the defendant argued that he hadbeen guilty of contributory negligence. It was held that the plaintiff had acted reasonablyunder the circumstances and he was entitled to recover damages.CausationIt is not necessary that the plaintiffs negligence contributes to the accident what isnecessary is that the plaintiffs negligence must contribute to the damage he had suffered.Thus in Froom v. Butcherthe plaintiff damages were reduced because his negligence innot wearing a socket belt contributed to the damage which he has suffered though hisnegligence in no way contributes to the accident.In O’connel v. Jacksonit was held that the plaintiff’s damages should be reducedbecause while riding a motorcycle he failed to wear a crush helmet. Equally damagesmay be reduced where a person accepts a lift in a car when he knows the driver hasconsumed substantial amount of alcohol (Owens v. Brimmall)The same principle has been applied in James v. Livox Quarried Ltdthe plaintiff wasriding on a tow bar of a traxcavator in breach of safety instructions which he had beengiven, the driver of the traxcavator was unaware of the pressure of the plaintiff on thevehicle and he stopped suddenly to change gear a truck was following behind atraxcavator collided with it and injured the plaintiff. It was found that the plaintiff wasguilty of contributory negligence and his damages were reduced by 20%. It was held thatthe plaintiff negligence had been a cause of damage which he suffered.The law reform contributory negligence exists nor did it with the issue whether theplaintiff’s decision was overruling as to the sole effective cause of his loss.ApportionmentUnder the act damage awarded to the plaintiff who has been contributory negligent are tobe reduced to such extent as the court think just and equitable having regard to theLecturer: Yash VyasPage 31
LAW OF TORTSclaimants share in the responsibility of the damage. The appointment of damage is amatter of fact and the Act presupposes that a person suffering loss will recover atleastsome damages and so damages cannot be reduced by 100% on the grand that the plaintiffwas guilty of contributory negligent (Pitt v. Hunt).
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