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Gleeson v Court [2007] EWHC 2397 (QB)

Richard Lynagh QC successfully appeared on behalf of the Defendant in a case arising out of a motor accident. The Claimant, who was a passenger in a car driven by the Defendant, had sustained serious injuries and primary liability was not in issue. This was a trial of the preliminary issue of contributory negligence. The Claimant had not been wearing a seat belt and been travelling in the boot area of the hatchback motor car. He had been thrown out onto the road in the accident. The second issue in dispute was the Claimant’s knowledge of the amount of alcohol consumed by the driver during the evening. The Court found that both elements of contributory negligence had been established and reduced the Claimant’s damages (which are to be assessed) by 30%. The case is interesting in that it considers the application of Froom v Butcher to cases where the passenger is being carried in a part of a vehicle where no seat belt is available. It also deals with the cumulative discount to be made where there are present two separate but related elements of contributory negligence.

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