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Examination Timing: 00H01M37S

A link connecting a stagecoach to its train of horses snapped, causing the stagecoach to career out of control. James, a passenger travelling on the top of the coach, fearing for his safety, leapt off the speeding coach and broke his leg. The coach came safely to rest at the side of the road, so in hindsight, he would have been safer if he had stayed on the coach. 

Was James contributorily negligent?

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James was not contributorily negligent if, due to the negligence of another, he was placed in a dilemma and did not have time to weigh the two options precisely. The case of Jones v Boyce [1816] establishes that a person faced with imminent danger due to another’s negligence is not considered contributory negligent if they take a reasonable action to avoid harm, even if that action results in injury. James's decision to leap from the coach was a reasonable response to the perceived danger, despite being the riskier option. 

Key Point: The Jones v Boyce case clarifies that when a person acts out of a reasonable fear for their safety, their actions will not be considered contributory negligence, even if, in hindsight, a safer course of action was available. This principle protects individuals who must make split-second decisions in dangerous situations caused by another's negligence.

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