Who should be so lucky in law?

 Nov 30, 2009

A potential problem with negligence law is that two individuals may be injured in the exact same way yet only one of them may have actually been wronged so as to be the successful subject of a negligence action at law. Someone who is injured in a car accident for example, owing to the other driver's careless driving may be entitled to compensation for their losses however as the Court of Appeal recognised in Mansfield and Another v Weetabix Ltd and Another this is not necessarily always so. The Court there held that there was no reason in principle why a driver who was involved in an accident caused by a disabling event should not escape liability. The driver concerned had caused the accident after unwarily slipping into a hypoglycemic state in which a lack of glucose resulted in his impaired brain functioning and to the causing of a serious road accident.

The questions of when exactly we are to be held to account for our actions- or what circumstances should give rise to a duty of care have perplexed legal philosophers and practitioners alike. Whilst the issue at surface level appears to be a question of luck, the issue is often reduced to the idea of responsibility. If someone has the capacity to perform a certain action, they should be held liable and be made responsible for the consequences of that action. The fact that the law only makes reasonable demands of us as to how we should act as citizens between one another perhaps strengthens this view that we should be responsible for any of our subsequently unreasonable actions. The problem with the Mansfield case is that the victim in the accident, unable to recover compensation for his losses has been clearly disadvantaged. Sometimes tort cannot provide all the answers but it aims to take into account the totality of a situation and act in a manner that is fair just and reasonable, and that cannot extend to make those objectively behaving reasonably, liable for an act not unreasonable.


At Carrs Solicitors, you will always have a senior solicitor who will personally handle every aspect of your personal injury claim and who will always be available to answer your questions. We are ready to listen and to offer free impartial advice in strict confidence.

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