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Road traffic update

From the failure to wear 
a seat belt to cyclists 
riding without helmets, Roger Cooper reviews 
the circumstances where 
a reduction will be 
made on account of contributory negligence

11 June 2012

established that the failure to wear a seat belt while travelling in a motor car amounts to contributory negligence. Giving the judgment of the court Denning MR observed that it was not the cause of the accident that was the critical issue but the cause of the injuries. If, therefore, the injuries in a road traffic accident were sustained because of both the negligence of a driver and the failure by an injured driver or passenger to wear a seat belt, then it would be appropriate for the injured ?party’s damages to be reduced to the extent that was just and equitable having regard to the blameworthiness of the respective parties’ actions.

In apportioning damages, while it would be possible for the issues of blameworthiness and causation to be explored extensively, taking a pragmatic approach the court ruled that there should not be a prolonged and expensive enquiry into the degree of blameworthiness on each side. Ins...

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