Torts law

Workshop Activity: Problem solving
AB is an employee of the CD delivery firm. One day he is asked to deliver a large crate
to the premises of EF Pty Ltd. Normally he would do so with a fellow employee, but on
this day his co-worker is ill and CD’s manager tells him to do the delivery on his own.
AB is a bit concerned about handling the crate at the other end, but the manager tells
him to use the lifting equipment supplied with the truck.
Having arrived at the premises of EF, AB backs up the truck to the loading bay, gets
out and hooks up the crate to the truck lifting gear. There is a metal plate on the truck
near the lifting gear controls which indicates that the maximum load to be lifted is 500
kg. But the plate is so dirty, as the trucks are never washed, that it is unreadable. AB
has never used the gear before and has never been told of the limit. The crate is 550
kg. While the lifting gear is swinging the crate out of the truck into the loading bay it
snaps, and the crate falls onto AB’s leg.
The premises of EF Pty Ltd are located next door to the surgery of Dr GH, a busy
general practitioner. While most of the horrified employees of EF are removing the
crate from AB’s leg, one of them enters the surgery and asks Dr GH to come and look
at the leg. The doctor has a busy morning and a waiting room full of patients, and he
tells the employee to call an ambulance. Later AB’s leg is amputated.
(1) Would an action in negligence by AB against CD be resolved under
the principles relating to industrial accidents or the regime governing motor
accidents? Provide legal reasoning and authority in support of your answer.
(2) Would AB have a possible action in negligence against Dr GH if it
could be shown that if his injuries had been treated more quickly he would not
have lost his leg?

Sample Solution