In most of these cases the liability of the driver is

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live in a practical world. In most of these cases the liability of the driver is admitted, the failure to wear a seat belt is admitted, the only question is: what damages should be payable? This question should not be prolonged by an expensive inquiry into the degree of blameworthiness on either side, which would be hotly disputed. Suffice it to assess a share of responsibility which will be just and equitable in the great majority of cases. Sometimes the evidence will show that the failure made no difference. The damage would have been the same, even if a seat belt had been worn. In such case the damages should not be reduced at all. At other times the evidence will show that the failure made all the difference. The damage would have been prevented altogether if a seat belt had been worn. In such cases I would suggest that the damages should be reduced by 25 per cent. But often enough the evidence will only show that the failure made a considerable difference. Some injuries to the head, for instance, would have been a good deal less severe if a seat belt had been worn, but there would still have been some injury to the head. In such case I would suggest that the damages attributable to the failure to wear a seat belt should be reduced by 15 per cent." 2.Operative Negligence To be distinguished from contributory negligence The defendant may have been negligent, but if the accident was caused exclusively by the negligence of the plaintiff, then it is not a case of contributory negligence. Similarly the plaintiff may have been negligent but unless that negligence was an operative cause of the accident then contributory negligence does not arise. E.g. a drunk person walking on the footpath and he is run over by a car. He can not be said to have contributory negligence because him being drunk is not the operative negligence for the accident. The governing principle is the failure of the defendant to exercise reasonable care for his own safety does not amount to contributory negligence in respect to the damage. Contributory negligence need not involve breach of a legal duty; it can be simply be a failure to take reasonable care for ones own safety. Although contributory negligence does not depend on a duty of care, it does depend on foresee ability. Jones vs. Livox Quarry Limited (1952) The plaintiff was riding at the back of a dust van, when he was injured. He was struck from behind by the driver of truck. Riding on the back of the vehicle was contrary to his employers express instructions. And what materializes was precisely the type of danger to be expected from such conduct. In this case it was held that the plaintiff’s negligence exposed him to the particular type of damages suffered, here the negligence on the part of the plaintiff was an operative negligence.
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45 Just as actionable negligence requires the foresee ability of harm to others, so contributory negligence requires the foresee ability of harm to oneself.
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