When someone is injured as a result of the civil fault of another it is quite common for more than one person to be found responsible for the injury. Indeed, it is sometimes very important for a victim to find a potential tortfeasor with the money (or insurance cover) to pay any damages award. Good examples of this arise in the field of employer liability. It is also often the case that the person injured contributed to some extent to the accident and if this is proved any damages are reduced by a percentage to reflect the level of this contributory negligence. A recent case provides examples of the division of damages compensation between several parties and could get you a few points for being bang up to date if you are doing assessed work in tort.
In Jagger v Holland (2020) a cyclist was wheeling her bicycle past a site where a fairground was being set up when she was hit by a fairground delivery lorry. This caused serious injury including the amputation of one of her legs. She sued the driver as a first defendant then, as a second defendant, a not-for-profit charity responsible for the organisation of traffic on the common site and a third defendant which ran and organised the fairground as a sub-contractor for the second defendant.
In the complex examination of fault, the cyclist was found to have contributed to the accident and to be 12.5% liable so that her damages were reduced accordingly. She had failed to pay attention to her surroundings or to note the very slow moving lorry with its hazard lights flashing and its engine revving. The driver was also at fault for failing to notice the pedestrian but so was the second defendant. The evidence given was that the site was a chaotic place with numerous people apparently getting on with their own jobs with no clear oversight. There was no planned separation of vehicles and pedestrians. By contrast it was found that the third defendant only took on responsibility for vehicles once they had travelled through the site to their destinations and therefore had no liability. Liability between the first and second defendants was divided as to 65% for the first defendant and 35% to the second defendant.
Blog by Law Answered – LLB, GDL and LPC revision notes and case books by qualified lawyers and top students.