Volenti non fit injuria

Volenti Non Fit Injuris

Literal Meaning

An injury is not done to one consenting to it.

Explanation & Origin

Volenti non fit injuria is an often-quoted form of the legal maxim formulated by the Roman jurist Ulpian which reads in original: Nulla iniuria est, quæ in volentem fiat.

When a person consents to the infliction of some harm upon himself , he has no remedy for that in torts. In case , the plaintiff voluntarily agrees to suffer some harm , he is not allowed to complain for that and his consent serves as a good defence against him.

No man can voluntarily waived or abandoned.

Volenti non fit injuria is a complete defence. Since the passing of the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act , 1945 , the defendant’s liability in the case of contributory negligence . is based on the proportion of his fault in the matter. In such case , therefore , the damages which the plaintiff can claim will be reduced to the extend the claimant himself was to blame for the loss.

In the defence of contributory negligence , both plaintiff and the defendant are negligent. In volenti non fit injuria , the plaintiff may be volens but at the same time exercising due care for his own safety. Moreover , defendant’s negligence may rule out the application of the defence of volenti non fit injuria.

In case of volenti non fit injuria , the plaintiff is always aware of the nature and extend of the danger which he encounters. There may , however , be contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff in respect of a danger which he did not , in fact , know although he ought to have known about it.

Illustration

A player in a game of hockey has no right of action if he is hit while the game is being lawfully played. But if there is deliberate injury caused by another player , the defence of volenti can be pleaded.

Case Reference

Hall V. Brooklands Auto Racing Club [(1932) All E.R. Rep. 208]

In this case the plaintiff was a spectator at a motor car race being held at Brooklands on a track owned by the defendant company. During the race , there was a collision between two cars , one of which was thrown among the spectators , thereby injuring the plaintiff. It was held that the plaintiff impliedly took the risk of such injury , the danger being inherent in the sport which any spectator could foresee , the defendant was not liable.

Padmavati V. Dugganaika [(1975) 1 Kam. L.J. 93. 1975]

In this case while the driver was taking the jeep for filling petrol in the tank , two strangers took lift in the jeep. Suddenly one of the bolts fixing the right front wheel to the axle gave away toppling the jeep. The two strangers were thrown out and sustained injuries , and one of them died as a consequence of the same.

It was held that neither driver nor his master could be made liable , firstly , because it was a case of sheer accident and , secondly the strangers had voluntarily got into the jeep and as such , the principle of volenti non fit injuria was applicable in this case.

Wooldrige V. Sumner [(1963) 2 Q.B. 43]

In this case the plaintiff , who was a photographer was taking photography at a horse show while he was standing at the boundary of the arena. One of the horses , belonging to the defendant , rounded the bend too fast. As the horse galloped furiously , the plaintiff was frightened and he fell into the horse’s course and there he was seriously injured by the galloping horse. The horse in question won the competition. It was held that since the defendants had taken due care , they were not liable. The duty of defendant was duty of care rather than duty of skills.    

Illot V. Wilkes [(1820) 3 B & Ald. 304]

In this case the passenger , who knew about the presence of spring guns on land , could not recover damages when he was shot by a spring gun.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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