Froom v Butcher (1976): defence of contributory negligence

Areas of applicable law: Tort law – negligence – contributory negligence

Main arguments in this case: Defence of contributory negligence is partial defence.

The fact of the case: The claimant was travelling in a car with his family when his car had a head-on collision with another car which was being driven on the wrong side of the road while in an attempt to overtake another vehicle. Though the claimant’s car was fitted with the seat belts, the claimant was not wearing them and as per the law at the time, it was not mandatory to wear them either. The claimant sustained head and other bodily injuries which he would not have suffered had he been wearing the seatbelt. The court held that he was contributory negligent and therefore his damages were reduced by 25%.

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