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Law Unit 2 Tort

Blyth V Birmingham waterworks co.: a definition of negligence was given in this case Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. Donoghue V Stevenson: The facts of the case were that Mrs Donoghues friend bought her a drink which was contained in a opaque bottle. She drank most of the beer and she poured the remains into a glass and the decomposing remains of a snail came out she became ill as a result. She had no direct claim but the neighbour principle was established neighbours are persons who are so closely affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation when carrying out an act or omission. Caparo V Dickman: The courts came up with a general test for negligence which set out 3 elements; it was reasonably foreseeable that a person in the claimants position would be injured, there was sufficient proximity, it is fair, just and reasonable to impose the liability on the defendants. Kent V Griffiths: In this case it was established that the ambulance service owed a duty of care to a member of public on whose behalf a 999 call had been made. This is because it is reasonably foreseeable that a person in the claimants position would be further injured if the ambulance failed to arrive or took too long to arrive.

Bourhill V Young: In this case the claimant was getting off a tram and heard a motorcycle go past and almost immediately heard a collision, she did not see the accident but was curious and so went to see what has happened. She saw the dead motorcyclist and the aftermath of the accident and suffered shock which she claimed caused her to miscarry her baby. There was no duty of care owed as she had been in a safe place, there was no proximity. Mcloughlin v OBrian: she was told of a serious accident involving her husband and children but had not been near the accident at the time. She rushed to the hospital where she discovered that one of her children had died and the other was seriously injured and her husband while whom was alive had not been cleaned up or sedated and thus was in a great deal of pain and distressed. She suffered shock and the court decided that the person who caused the accident owed a duty of care because there was a proximity in relationship. Hill V Chief Constable of West Yorkshire: In this case it was found that the police do not owe a duty of care to potential victims of crime. The facts of the case were that the police released the victims murderer who went on to kill her, they had not known she was to be a future victim. It was not fair, just and reasonable to owe a duty of care as the police need to work as efficiently as possible.

MPC V Reeves: The police do owe a duty in some cases such as this, where they took a man into custody who was a known risk of committing suicide and whilst in custody he hanged himself. Wells V Cooper: a man fitted a new door handle to the outside of the back door of his house which was above some steps. On the day of the accident the door was difficult to close due to wind blowing against it, the claimant was leaving and the door handle came away with him and he fell down the stairs and was injured. The courts decided that the man reached the standard of a reasonably competent carpenter. Nettleship V Weston: The claimant was a professional driving instructor in the passenger seat of a car being driven by a learner driver on her third lesson. An accident result in the car being driven into a lamppost which injured the passenger. The courts held that her standard of driving should be that of a reasonably competent driver and thus she was liable. Bolam V Friern Barnet Hospital Management committee: In this case Bolam suffered from mental illness and was advised to undergo electroconvulsive therapy. He signed a consent form but was not warned of the risk of breaking a bone. On the second occasion of the treatment he did suffer a broken bone as the hospital did not use relaxant drugs. There was two bodies of opinion among the medical experts, one that believed in the use of relaxant drugs and the other when there is only reasons to use it; these reasons not being present in the case of Bolam. Thus, the hospital had reached a standard of care expected and so had not broken their duty of care.

Paris V Stepney Borough Council: The claimant was employed in a garage and his employer the local council was aware that he only had the use of one eye. While carrying out some work a chip of metal flew into his good eye and he became totally blind. The council did not provide glasses for him as it was not common practice. However, The council knew he was blind in one eye and thus the council owed him a higher duty of care because of this increased risk. Walker V Northumberland County Council: A social services manager had been forced to take on a large volume of work due to shortage in funds, he suffered several weeks of stress related illness and could not work, this became a special characteristic know to the council and when he returned no effort was made to improve his situation. The claimant suffered another long period of illness. The courts referred to the principle in Paris V Stepney and held that the standard of care was expected was higher. Bolton V Stone: A ball flew out of the grounds which struck and hit a lady. This happened even though there was a fence 5 meters high and the distance between from the striker to the fence was 70 meters and only 6 occasions in the 30 years has a ball left the grounds. The courts decided the risk of injury was so small that the probability of it happened could not have been anticipated by the reasonable man and thus the cricket club had not broken their duty of care.

Haley V London Electricity Board: In this case a blind man was walking along a pavement which he knows well on his way to work. The electricity board had opened a trench there and had put a tool on the ground to force people to go around. Unfortunately the blind man was unable to notice the tool and fell into the trench. Te courts decided that it is reasonably foreseeable that a blind man would be in the vicinity as 1 in 500 people are blind. Thus a reasonable man would take such precautions to prevent an accident happening. Latimer V AEC: The defendants factory was flooded after a rainstorm and water mixed with oil meant that the floor was slippery. The defendant had put up warning signs and used their supply of sand and sawdust to dry the floor. The claimant sipped and was injured, the defendant did owe a duty of care however, he took all precautions to prevent an accident. Watt V Hertfordshire County: The facts of this case are that fire fighters were injured b lifting gear in a vehicle that was not specifically suited for that gear as the other vehicle was occupied. The court held that the fire fighters were ready to take a risk to save a life. Thus, the benefit of saving the women was greater than the risk.

Barnett V Chelsea and Kensington Hospital management committee: The facts of the case are that 3 night watchmen arrived to the casualty department that the defendant work at. They complained they have been vomiting after drinking tea. The nurse reported their complaints to the medical casualty officer by telephone whom instructed her to them to go home. He did not examine of speak to them which is normal practice. One of the men died 5 hours later from arsenic poisoning. The medical opinion was that the claimant would still have died even if he had been admitted to the hospital. The judge stated that the hospital was negligent and owed a duty of care but the hospital had not caused the deaths. Fairchild: In this case it was decided that a worker who had contracted a form of cancer could sue any of his previous employers following multiple exposure to asbestos caused by employer negligence. Smith V Littlewoods: In this case an act of vandalism was seen as a novus actus interveniens. The reasons being that after the defendant bought a cinema and had decided to demolish it in order to build a supermarket the building was locked but left unattended and empty. Vandals started a fire which caused damage to two adjoining buildings one of which had to be demolished. The courts decided that a reasonable person would not foresee that such a thing would happen in the short time before the building would be demolished especially added to the fact that the defendant had not known of vandalism in the area. Therefore, they owed no duty of care.

The Wagon Mound: In this case the defendant spilt a quantity of oil while refuelling a ship and it spread over to the claimants wharf which was some distance away. While the claimant carried out some welding to a ship some welding caused a fire due to the oil. The claimants wharf was severely damaged The defendants could not have reasonably expected to know and the court decided that damage by the oil was foreseeable but the damage by the fire was too remote and not foreseeable. Bradford V Robinson Rentals: In this case the claimant was required to take an old van from Exeter to Bradford and collect a new one. It was advised not to travel unless necessary as the weather was very cold and the car did not have a heater and so the windscreen kept freezing over. Thus he had to drive with the window open and thus suffered from frostbite. It was foreseeable that he would suffer from some kind of cold-related injury and so the defendants were liable for his frostbite. Hughes V Lord Advocate: Two boys took a paraffin warning lamp down an unattended manhole and on emerging one of the boys knocked the lamp back into the hole causing an explosion and suffered severe burns. Since the risk on injury from burning was foreseeable this extremely unlikely form of burning meant there was legal and factual causation. The claim succeeded.

Smith V Leech Brain: In this case the defendant suffered a minor splash of molten metal that caused a burn to the face it triggered a pre-existing cancerous condition and the claimant developed cancer. The claim succeeded as it is the principle that you take your victim as your find them. Gabriel V Kirklees Metropolitan Council: This is the case that is a recent example of how judge should apply the principle of reasonable foreseeability. The facts of the case was that a 6 year old whilst walking past a building site had some mud thrown in his eye by children playing on the site, the site was not fenced at the time. The following tests had to be cleared; is it reasonably foreseeable that children would go on to the site, and that they would play there, and that whatever they found on the site they might throw it, and that it may cause injury to those passing by on the pavement. Scott V London and St Katherine docks: The claimant was walking along the dock when he was hit on the head by a sack of sugar dropped from an overhead crane. The claimant did not have to prove that the dock was negligent as the elements for res ipsa loquitur were present; the thing that caused harm was under the control of the defendant, the sack of sugar had not fallen unless someone had been negligent, and there is no other explanation of the injury caused to the claimant. The burden of proof shifts to the defendant.

Mohan V Osborne: In this case the claimant went to hospital for an abdominal operation but remained in pain afterwards and died. It was found that a swab had been left inside, this is a clear example of res ipsa loquitur as a swab is not left inside unless someone is negligent.