Negligence was defined by the Court in Blyth v Birmingham Waterworks Co. (1856) as……

omitting to do something that a reasonable man, guided by the considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.

 

Proving and Defending Negligence (employment cases)
At common law, the employer is under a duty to take reasonable care, in all of the circumstances, for the health and safety of his employees with respects to reasonably foreseeable injuries. The duty is owed personally by the employer to each individual employee and some may, therefore, require higher standards than others.

In a claim for negligence, the burden falls initially on the claimant to prove…..

•  A common law duty of care existed;

•  The employer’s negligence breached that duty (also see res ipsa loquitor);

•  Injury or damage has been suffered;

•  The breach caused or materially contributed to the injury or damage.

To defend a claim, a defendant would need to show that…

•  There was no duty owed; or

•  Although a duty was owed, there was no breach of it.

•  Although a duty was owed and negligently breached, the negligence was not the cause of the injury or damage.

•  The injury or damage was the sole fault of the employee.

•  There was contributory negligence;

•  Volenti non fit injuria (to a willing person, no injury is done);

Note: because a person has knowledge of risk does not mean they assume or consent to that risk;

Volenti may apply if the relevant statute places the duty on the person concerned.

 

 

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