Jones v Livox Quarries Ltd
Court of Appeal
Citations:  2 QB 608;  1 TLR 1377; (1952) 96 SJ 344;  CLY 2354.
The claimant was a quarry worker on his way to the quarry canteen down the base of the quarry. Both workers and slow moving vehicles were using this route. While one of these vehicles had stopped to change gear, the claimant jumped on the back. The defendant, the claimant’s employer, had instructed the workers not to do this. A second vehicle crashed into the back of the vehicle which the claimant was riding, and the claimant was injured.
The claimant successfully sued the defendant in negligence. However, the defendant argued that the claimant’s damages should be reduced for contributory negligence under the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945. Section 1 of that Act states that the defence applies whenever the injury is partly the ‘result of’ the claimant’s ‘own fault’. The claimant argued that the injury was not his fault. He argued that although he knew that riding on the back of vehicle was dangerous (he might have fallen off), he could not have foreseen the crash happening.
- Did the claimant’s decision to ride the back of the vehicle make the injury partly the result of his own fault?
The Court of Appeal held in favour of the defendant. The claimant’s decision to ride the vehicle made the injury partly his fault.
This Case is Authority For…
A claimant’s injury is partly his own fault if his negligence contributes to the accident by foreseeably exposing himself to danger. It does not normally matter that the claimant could not foresee the precise way in which the injury came about.
Singleton LJ speculated that there might be some cases in which the foreseeability of the mechanism by which the injury happens is relevant to contributory negligence. He gave the example of a man who sits dangerously on a wall, only to be knocked off and injured by a vehicle crashing into the wall. Singleton LJ stated that this example might be a case in which the claimant’s lack of care does not make the injury partly his fault. This seems to mirror the way foreseeability is assessed for the purposes of determining remoteness of damages.