Title: Business Law Case Analysis Essay Example

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Title: Business Law Case Analysis


This is a case of negligence where Mary sues John for damages accusing him for causing an accident when the ambulances she was driving rammed into his car. John had put the noise cancelling earphones on. The case of negligence has to fulfill the principles associated by it and follow the steps that prove damage was done to the plaintiff1. Whereas John contributed to the acceded by having his noise cancelling earphones on, he has many defenses that he can use to turn around the case owing to the misuse of public facilities by Mary. This essay discusses the options available to John in his defense and the need for Mary to prove in order to establish a claim.


Negligence is the inability to take reasonable care in order to avoid causing loss or injury to another person. The components of law of torts concern the accidental injury to property and person and rest upon two main principles. In the first place the act or omission by the defendant that somehow interferes with the right of the plaintiff causing damage. Furthermore, the interference has to give rise to recourse to damages that has to be nearly as possible to the loss of the plaintiff. John actions have to be proved to have led to damages suffered by Mary and Mary has to be compensated adequately to cover her loss. There are four steps to negligence that Mary has to prove in order to establish any claim against John. Firstly, Mary has to prove that there is a duty of care on John’s part in this case. Mary has to demonstrate that that John owes her a duty of care spelt out in a given standard by law or regulation2. Ambulances are used for emergency services and other road users have to give way to ambulances in case they are carrying a critically ill patient needing emergency services. Secondly, Mary has to demonstrate that the behavior or inaction of John in the circumstance did not meet the threshold of care that a reasonable person would meet in the same circumstances. Precisely there should be breach of duty. Mary has to prove that John acted inappropriately unlike a reasonable person would do in such a circumstance. Failure to observe the required standard of care has to be demonstrated by Mary in a court of law. Thirdly, there should be damage3. Mary, being the plaintiff in this case has to prove that she has suffered loss or injury that a reasonable person in the circumstances would have been able to foresee. If there is economic loss that Mary suffered or personal injury of some sort, it has to be included in the law suit as she claims damages from John. Lastly, the plaintiff (Mary) must prove that there was a reasonably close connection between the conduct of the offender (John) and the resulting injury or loss. This is often referred to as remoteness of damage question. Mary has no option but to prove in a court of law that the damage she suffered was caused by the breach of duty by the defendant4.

However, John has potential defenses that are available to him that he can use to argue his case in a court of law. John put on his noise cancelling ear phones and listened to music since he was stressful from the day’s work. Consequently he did not hear the ambulance siren that Mary had switched on moments before entering the intersection. If John did not have the earphones in his hears he would have heard the ambulance siren and stopped to avoid any accident. It was careless for John to wear those earphones while still driving. If at all there was a critically ill patient in the ambulance, she or he could have died owing to John’s negligence. John has a duty of care to give way to ambulances so that patients being ferried to hospitals for emergency services reach on time. In this case, however, Mary was using the ambulance siren and its privileges for her own personal advantage. She was late for lunch at a nearby Subway store and she was speeding to arrive on time. She exceeded the speed limit and entered the intersection expecting other vehicles to give way for her.

Mary was abusing the siren privileges for her own advantage. She was going for a personal late lunch and not rushing an injured person to hospital. John does not own Mary duty of care for using the ambulance siren for her personal engagements like late lunch. The duty of care owed to Mary by John arises from the relationship of her taking a patient to hospital or rushing to pick a critically ill or injured person to hospital. At any other time ambulances follow road signs, laws and regulations like other road users. It was wrong for Mary to enter the intersection before checking the road to see if it was clear. Since she did not have a patient she was duty bound to above traffic signs like any other road user. Speeding for lunch was wrong and using siren privilege to gain advantage on the road was morally wrong and illegal.

Duty of care incident is recorded in the case of Donoghue v Stevenson5 where it was stated that persona have to take reasonable care to avoid omissions or acts that can be reasonably foreseen to be have the likelihood of injuring one’s neighbor. The case of Donoghue v Stevenson came about when the plaintiff was taken ill after taking some ginger beer that had been poured into a glass from a bottle that was opaque. She alleged that her illness was caused by the presence of a decomposing snail in the bottle which seemingly was seen when her glass was subsequently refilled. Since the drink had been bought by her she did not sue in contract but in tort. The House of Lords determined that the plaintiff had a good cause of action if the allegations were proved. The opaque bottle concealed the contents that included a decomposing snail6. When the plaintiff took the drink she fell ill. The plaintiff was able to prove remoteness of damage question by demonstrating that if she had not taken the drink, she would not have fallen ill. Liability can come about both in contract and tort for the same conduct7. The negligence by the manufacturer by using an opaque bottle made the client not to see the contents inside the bottle. The implied term in contract is to take reasonable care and the manufacturer broke his duty by using a bottle that was opaque. It was concluded that the manufacturer owed a duty of care to his consumers.

Mary has to prove that her own actions did not contribute to the loss or damage. She did not have any patient in the ambulance and she was using the siren privilege to run her personal errands. John has to demand that Mary to demonstrate how his action led to the accident if in her own capacity she had not contributed to the accidents. Ambulances must have their sirens on when they are transporting a patient to hospitals. An ambulance does not have to reach at an intersection then the driver switches the sirens own. If the siren was own throughout Mary’s journey, John could have had the ambulance was coming and given way at the intersection. Since Mary just wanted to use the siren for her persona gain, she switched them on the moment she arrived at the intersection hence given John no chance of avoiding the accidents. In the circumstance, it is Mary’s negligence and misuse of siren privileges that led to the accident.

John has a chance of turning the case against Mary and claiming damages instead. There are no direct financial consequences resulting from the accident that Mary is claiming. Mary has to be charged with speeding and entering the intersection expecting other vehicles to give way when she had no patient in the ambulance. The siren in an ambulance has to be on when there is a patient being rushed to hospitals or the ambulance is rushing to pick a patient at an accident’s scene or from home. It is ironical that Mary was rushing to catch late lunch at a nearby Subway store. There is identifiable duty of care between John and Mary as an ambulance driver when there is a critically ill patient involved. In this case, there was none. Mary was abusing her privileges. An ambulance rushing to pick a patient or one taking a patient to hospital will have its siren on throughout and will not wait until it reaches the intersection before the driver switches it on. It is evident that Mary was using the siren privileges to gain advantage on the road against other road users like John. Mary can be sued for abusing the privileges of a siren and causing an accident that led to John being hospitalized. There is presumption of contributory negligence where Mary contributes to the accident happening8.


Negligence has to be proved beyond any reasonable doubt. Although John did not hear the siren as the ambulance approached, it was mischievous and unreasonable for Mary to switch on the siren just seconds before entering the intersection. Mary cannot blame the accident entirely on John when herself she did not act reasonably to avoid the accident. She was using the ambulance to gain advantage over the other road users when she neither had a patient in the vehicle nor was she rushing to pick one at a scene of an accident. John has a very good defense against Mary and Mary will end up losing this case.

1 Latimer, P., 2012, Australian Business Law 2012, CCH Australia Limited, Sydney.

2 Charlesworth, S., Turner N.J., Foreman, L. 2000, Disrupted Families: The Law, Federation Press, Melbourne.

3 Review of the Law of Negligence Final Report (2002) Canberra, para. 7.49.

4 David Gardiner and Frances McGlone, Outline of Torts (2nd ed, 1998), Butterworths, at 33, citing McGuire v Union Steamship.

5 Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) AC 562

6 Marson J. & Ferris, K. 2015, Business Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford

7 Trindade F & Cane P, 1999, The Law of Torts in Australia 357.

8 McDonald, Barbara, 2005, Legislative Intervention in the Law of Negligence: The Common Law, Statutory Interpretation and Tort Reform in Australia, Sydney Law Review 27 (3): 443