Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

O’Connell v Jackson

336 words (1 pages) Case Summary

17th Jun 2019 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

O’Connell v Jackson

[1971] 3 WLR 463; [1972] 1 QB 270; [1971] 3 All ER 129;

[1971] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 354; [1972] RTR 51; (1971) 115 SJ 742;



The plaintiff was an experienced motorist, travelling to work at 20 mph on a major road in a busy traffic area. Contrary to the Highway Code, the plaintiff was not wearing a helmet. The defendant was emerging from a minor road and stopped at the junction with the major road but then negligently moved forwards, causing the plaintiff to collide with it. As a result, the plaintiff sustained severe head injuries. At the trial of the plaintiff’s action for damages, the defendant admitted that he was guilty of negligence. It was held that the plaintiff was not guilty of contributory negligence because although wearing a helmet would have reduced the gravity of his injuries, his conduct was not unreasonable. The defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal.


Does a motorist’s failure to wear a helmet amount to contributory negligence in case of an accident?


The appeal was allowed.

(1) Applying Jones v Livox Quarries [1952] 2 QB 608, the plaintiff should have foreseen the possibility of being involved in an accident even though he was driving with care and at a reasonable speed.

(2) Although the defendant is solely responsible for the accident, the plaintiff’s negligence is relevant to the gravity of the injuries and damage sustained as injuries of such gravity would not have occurred, had he worn a helmet.

Therefore, the plaintiff must bear some of the responsibility for the consequences of the accident and the amount of damages is to be reduced by 15 per cent.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

Related Content

Jurisdictions / Tags

Content relating to: "UK Law"

UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

Related Articles