Defences to Negligence

Defences to negligence

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Volenti (consent)





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A complete defence when the claimant has voluntarily accepted the risk of harm.

Claimant must have 1) knowledge of the precise risk involved 2) exercise of free choice 3) voluntary acceptance of risk

Stermer v Lawson

c borrowed d's motorbike but wasn't shown how to use it, so didn't appreciate risks involved, so d's claim of volenti failed.

Smith v Baker

c was injured in a quarry when a crane dropped some rocks on his head. volenti failed as he was given no proper warning when the crane was in use so was unaware of the danger and there was no voultary acceptance of the risk in the circumstances.

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Contributory negligence





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Damages reduced in accordance with extent to which c contributed to own harm.

Sayers v Harlow

a woman who became trapped in public toilets due to negligent maintenance was injured whilst trying to escape in order to catch a bus. the council were liable but damages reduced by 25% because of the careless manner she tried to get out.

O'Connell v Jackson

a passenger received much greater injuries due to not wearing a crash helmet and so damages were reduced accordingly.

Jones v Livox Quarries

c injured when he rode on a towbar of a vehicle which collided with another, which his employer expressly forbid. damages reduced by 5%

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