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Dann v Hamilton [1939] 1 KB 509

The Claimant was injured when she was a willing passenger in the car driven by the Mr Hamilton. He had been drinking and the car was involved in a serious crash which killed him. In a claim for damages the Defendant raised the defence of volenti non fit injuria in that in accepting the lift knowing of his drunken condition she had voluntarily accepted the risk.


The defence was unsuccessful. The claimant was entitled to damages.


Asquith J:

"There may be cases in which the drunkenness of the driver at the material time is so extreme and so glaring that to accept a lift from him is like engaging in an intrinsically and obviously dangerous occupation, intermeddling with an unexploded bomb or walking on the edge of an unfenced cliff. It is not necessary to decide whether in such a case the maxim 'volenti non fit injuria' would apply, for in the present case I find as a fact that the driver's degree of intoxication fell short of this degree".
Back to lecture outline on volenti non fit injuria in Tort Law