Volenti Non Fit Injuria

f any person commits any act, which causes injury to another person under the law of tort, then he is held liable and has to pay damages to the other person but sometimes a person suffering didn’t receive damages because the other party takes the defence of volenti non-fit injuria. In this case, a person gives his consent for doing work that may lead to some kind of injury to that person and he cannot claim defence on it because the act was done with his own consent.

There are some essential conditions to be fulfilled in order to take the defence of volenti non- fit injuria. They are –
• The plaintiff must have the knowledge of the risk
• The plaintiff despite having knowledge of risk agreed to suffer the harm.
In the cases where the defendant is taking the defence, the burden of proof lien on him to show the plaintiff had full knowledge of the act he is committing and had given his consent for the risk involved in the act and the defendant has to show that the plaintiff was aware of the extent of risk which was involved in the act.

The consent of the plaintiff is important for taking the defence of volenti non fit injuria because only when he gives his consent only then the defendant can take this defence. In the case of Hall v. Brookland , the plaintiff went to see a car race in which two cars collided with each other and the plaintiff who was sitting in an audience got injured. Here the defence of volenti non fit injuria was taken because the plaintiff had given his consent for such a risky task by going to the race.
The consent given by the plaintiff must be free consent i.e. is not be taken by coercion, fraud, mistake etc. . In the case of Ravindra Padmanabhan vs Lakshmi Rajan And Anr., the plaintiff had a tumour in her breasts and went to the hospital in order to remove it. While operating on her tumour the doctor also removed the uterus which had nothing to do with the tumour. Thus, the Court held the defendants liable. The court held that consent is taken by fraud so the defendant was held liable.

There are certain conditions where the defence of volenti non fit injuria cannot be taken such as-
Rescue Cases
When the plaintiff suffers an injury as a result of him doing an act which he knows is likely to cause harm to him but is done in order to rescue someone, then the defence of volti non fit injuria will not be applied and the defendant will be held liable. In the case of Haynes v. Harwood , the servant of the defendant brought two horses in the town near a police station. The horses were upset and they broke free, seeing them in rage the plaintiff who was a police officer went to stop the horses and in doing so he got injured and brought a case against the owner for damages. The court held the defendant is liable because the defence of volenti non-fit injuria is not applicable in a rescue case.
Illegal Acts
If the consent is given for an act which is not allowed by law i.e. it is illegal in nature, then even on the fulfilment of all the essential conditions of the defence, the liability cannot be escaped and thus in such cases, this defence cannot be taken and he was liable.
Negligence of the defendant
The defence of volenti non fit injuria is not applicable in a case where the defendant has been negligent himself. In such cases the defence becomes ineffective.

Volenti non fit injuria is one of the defences under the law of Tort but This defence is also subject to certain limitations such as rescue cases and the negligence of the defendant. Thus, in order to allow this defence the court had to ensure that the conditions of the defence are fulfilled but it does not come within the limitation of the defence.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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