Capps v Miller: CA 30 Nov 1988

The plaintiff was injured riding with the defendant on a motor-cycle. The defendant drove negligently, and crashed. The plaintiff’s crash hemet came off and he sustained severe head injuries. He had not fastened it. The defendant appealed an apportionment of 100% responsibility to himself.
Held: The judge was wrong. The plaintiff’s own contributory negligence had clearly contributed to the seriousness of the injury. His damages were reduced by 10%. It was not possible to make a finding on the medical evidence as to the extent to which the plaintiff’s injuries were worse because his undone helmet came off thus it was not possible readily to attribute the case to Lord Denning’s categories in Froom v Butcher.
Glidewell LJ drew a distinction between the plaintiff who puts on a crash helmet and fails to fasten it and the plaintiff who fails to wear a helmet at all, since a close fitting but unfastened helmet will in some accidents remain on the head, thus reducing or eliminating the damage resulting.

May, Croom-Johnson, Glidewell LJ
[1989] 2 All ER 333, [1988] EWCA Civ 5, [1989] 1 WLR 839
England and Wales
DistinguishedO’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 . .
ConsideredFroom 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 by:
CitedWilliams v Williams (The Estate of) CA 30-Apr-2013
A child aged three had been injured as a passenger in her mother’s car when it was hit by another negligently driven vehicle. The mother appealed against a finding that she was 25% contributorily negligent in that the child seat used had been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.188805