Davies v Swan Motor Co (Swansea) Ltd: CA 1949

A plaintiff brought an action for damages for personal injury against the drivers of two cars.
Held: There are two aspects to apportioning responsibility between a plaintiff and defendant in an action for negligence, the respective causative potency of what they have done, and their respective blameworthiness
Denning LJ said: ‘If they were both found guilty of ‘fault’ which caused the damage, could it possibly be said that the plaintiff’s damages were to be reduced as against one and not as against the other? And even if that were possible, what would be the proportions as between the two drivers? Would contributions be assessed on the higher or lower figure of damages? If the Act of 1945 were to involve such questions, it would introduce many complications into the law. The Act seems to contemplate that, if the plaintiff’s own fault was one of the causes of the accident, his damages are to be reduced by the self-same amount as against any of the others whose fault was a cause of the accident, whether he sues one or more of them, and they bear the amount so reduced in the appropriate proportions as between themselves.’

Denning LJ
[1949] 2 KB 291
Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 1
England and Wales
Cited by:
ApprovedFitzgerald v Lane HL 14-Jul-1988
The plaintiff crossed road at a pelican crossing. The lights were against him but one car had stopped. As he passed that car he was struck by another in the second lane and again by a car coming the other way. The judge had held the three equally . .
ApprovedStapley 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 . .
ApprovedChapman v Hearse, Baker v Willoughby HL 26-Nov-1969
The plaintiff, a pedestrian had been struck by the defendant’s car while crossing the road. The plaintiff had negligently failed to see the defendant’s car approaching. The defendant had a clear view of the plaintiff prior to the collision, but was . .
CitedEagle v Chambers CA 24-Jul-2003
The claimant was severely injured when run down by the defendant driving his car. She was in Blackpool, and drunk and wandering in the highway. The defendant was himself at or near the drink driving limit. She appealed against a finding that she was . .
CitedJones 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 . .
CitedThe Miraflores and The Abadesa PC 1967
Two ships had collided. A third itself ran aground trying to avoid them, and its ownes sought damages.
Held: The unit approach to apportionment of damages was wrong.
Lord Morris said of section 1 of the 1911 Act: ‘The section calls for . .
CitedO’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 . .
CitedSwallow Security Services Ltd v Millicent EAT 19-Mar-2009
EAT UNFAIR DISMISSAL: Contributory fault
The employers dismissed the employee after a bogus redundancy exercise, after she had knowingly taken paid holiday in excess of her holiday allowance and failed to . .
CitedKotula v EDF Energy Networks (Epn) Plc and Others QBD 15-Jun-2010
The claimant cyclist sought damages for severe personal injury. He was walking or riding his cycle through some roadworks by the roadside, and fell out through roadside barriers into the path of a car. The defendants admitted that the path was less . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Negligence

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.185851