The case of Fanning .v. Myerscough and Myerscough concerned an accident at work where the Plaintiff sued for personal injury which occurred as he alighted from a tractor during the course of his employment at a Stud Farm.

The Court found that the tractor door had slammed on the Plaintiff and on balance that it was due to a defect. The Court considered the issue of contributory negligence (the Plaintiff having alighted from the tractor by walking forwards as opposed to backwards).

The Court said:

“The onus on an employer seeking to establish contributory negligence is higher when the employee has proven breach of statutory duty as compared with common law negligence. There is of course a duty on every employee to take care of his own safety”.

The Plaintiff’s own engineer acknowledged that the Plaintiff had alighted from the tractor the wrong way. This left the Plaintiff in a precarious unbalanced position. The Plaintiff was aware the door was defective and was further aware of the correct way to go down the stairs. On that point the Court said:

“The latter point is so obvious that I believe an experienced man like Mr Fanning might well have considered it to be insultingly patronising if he had been told how to get down out of a tractor”.

The Court assessed contributory negligence at 50%, which in this writers experience is a very high degree in terms of Contributory Negligence in an Employers Liability case.