The widow of the deceased sought damages after his exposure to asbestos whilst working for the defendant. He had contracted lung cancer. The defendant argued that the deceased had continued to smoke knowing of the risks, and that he had made a significant contribution to his getting lung cancer.
Held: The damages should be reduced by 20% to allow for the deceased’s contribution to his condition. Though smoking increased by a factor of ten the chances of getting lung cancer, as opposed to the factor of five from exposure to asbestos, the latter gave rise to other doiseases, including asbestosis which was contracted by the claimant. Foreseeability of injury from smoking can be inferred from the general knowledge of the risks associated with smoking, particularly since the introduction of health warnings on cigarette packets in 1971. The apportionment of damages if necessary after finding that contributory negligence was established, was to be approached on the ‘broad jury like and commonsense way.’
Stanley Burnton J
 EWHC 2941 (QB), Times 28-Dec-2005,  3 All ER 173
Law Reform (Contributory Neglience) Act 1945 1
Cited – Froom v Butcher CA 21-Jul-1975
The court asked what reduction if any should be made to a plaintiff’s damages where injuries were caused not only by the defendant’s negligent driving but also by the failure of the plaintiff to wear a seat belt. It had been submitted that, since . .
Cited – Jones v Livox Quarries CA 25-Apr-1952
The plaintiff had ridden on the back of a kind of tractor in a quarry and in defiance of his employer’s instructions, risking being thrown off and injured. Another vehicle ran into the back of the first vehicle, injuring the plaintiff. He contended . .
Cited – O’Connell v Jackson CA 7-Jul-1971
Motorcyclist negligent without helmet
The plaintiff sought damages after an accident. The defendant car driver had negligently moved forward into the path of the plaintiff motor cyclist who was injured. The defendant argued that the plaintiff, a motorcyclist, was contributorily . .
Cited – Davis Contractors Ltd v Fareham Urban District Council HL 19-Apr-1956
Effect of Contract Frustration
The defendant appellants contended that their construction contract was frustrated because adequate supplies of labour were not available to it because of the war.
Held: The court considered how the frustration of the performance of a contract . .
Cited – Stapley v Gypsum Mines Ltd HL 25-Jun-1953
Plaintiff to take own responsibility for damage
The question was whether the fault of the deceased’s fellow workman, they both having disobeyed their foreman’s instructions, was to be regarded as having contributed to the accident.
Held: A plaintiff must ‘share in the responsibility for the . .
Cited – Boothman v British Northrop Ltd CA 1972
Once relevant fault on the part of the plaintiff has been established, a reduction on account of his fault in the damages recoverable is obligatory Stephenson LJ: ‘Speaking for myself, I do not find that the words of section 1(1) of the Law Reform . .
Cited – McTear v Imperial Tobacco Ltd OHCS 31-May-2005
The pursuer sought damages after her husband’s death from lung cancer. She said that the defenders were negligent in having continued to sell him cigarettes knowing that they would cause this.
Held: The action failed. The plaintiff had not . .
Cited – St George v The Home Office CA 8-Oct-2008
The claimant was taken into prison. He was known to be subject to epilepsy, with high risks on withdrawal from drugs, but was allocated a high bunk. He had a seizure and fell, suffering head injuries. He sought damages in negligence. The defendant . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 January 2021; Ref: scu.236705