A Sydney tramway passenger was injured in a collision with another tram, which occurred after the driver collapsed at the controls. The plaintiff argued that the collision could have been avoided if the tramway authority had fitted the tram with a system known as ‘dead man’s handle’, a system in use on Sydney’s trains. This would have stopped the tram and avoided the accident. The device had been rejected by the tramway authorities because it was felt that it could cause drivers to become tired, irritated and inefficient. There was no evidence of any similar device in use on two-man trams anywhere in the world. Will the plaintiff succeed in his negligence claim? Explain your reasoning.
In this case, the plaintiff claimed negligence against the Sydney tramway authorities. In order for a negligence to be established, the authorities have to be proved owned a duty of care to the plaintiff. In this circumstance, it refer to the safety of tramway passengers. Whereas a duty of care occurs, the next problem will be whether the authorities have breach their duty of care to the plaintiff. There has to be some safety concerns or risks that the authorities have not take into consideration. Those risks can result in significant damage to the plaintiff.
To prove a duty of care exist in this case, the foreseeability and vulnerability of the tramway authorities have to be taken in to account. As a matter of fact, any accident happen to a tram is directly endangering the passengers on board. No matter it is a mechanical or human faultiness. It is foreseeable to the authorities that this kind of faultiness can cause immediate physical harm to the passengers, as was indicated in Bourhill v Young. To determine whether a vulnerable relationship between the defendant and plaintiff, the following factors must be considered. Firstly, the authorities are in a controlling position as a tram operator only except if a person who do not comply...
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