Wells v. Parsons, (1970) 1 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 513 (NFCA)

JudgeFurlong, C.J., Higgins and Mifflin, JJ.
CourtNewfoundland Court of Appeal
Case DateNovember 04, 1970
JurisdictionNewfoundland and Labrador
Citations(1970), 1 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 513 (NFCA)

Wells v. Parsons (1970), 1 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 513 (NFCA)

MLB headnote and full text

Wells v. Parsons

Indexed As: Wells v. Parsons

Newfoundland Supreme Court

On Appeal

Furlong, C.J., Higgins and Mifflin, JJ.

November 4, 1970.


Appeal Court allowed appeal, dismissed cross-appeal and overruled the decision of the Trial Judge who held that the plaintiff was 25% at fault in a head-on collision between 2 motor vehicles on a bridge at night in a snowstorm. Trial Judge found that the defendant was on the wrong side of the road immediately prior to the accident, but that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent in turning to the left at the last moment, in driving too fast, in not braking soon enough and in not trying to attract the defendant's attention by flicking his lights or sounding his horn.

Appeal Court stated that the plaintiff was entitled to assume that the defendant would use his own half of the highway only and that in order for the plaintiff to be guilty of contributory negligence in the circumstances, it must be shown that the plaintiff failed to take advantage of the opportunity to avoid the accident which a reasonable, careful and skilful driver would have taken. Finding that there was no evidence to show that the plaintiff was driving too fast or that he turned to the left at the last moment, Appeal Court held that the plaintiff took the only reasonable action he could to avoid the collision. Defendant, accordingly, was held to be 100% at fault.

Torts - Topic 406

Negligence - Motor vehicle - Passing, failure to drive to the right of the centre of the road - Head-on collision at night in snowstorm - Defendant on plaintiff's side of highway - Plaintiff unable to take effective evasive action - Plaintiff entitled to assume defendant would use own side of highway - The Newfoundland Court of Appeal held defendant 100% at fault.

Cases Noticed:

Toronto Railway Co. v. the King, [1908] A.C. 260, refd to.

Robert M. Bell, Administrator of the Estate of George MacLaren and Elegetha Candace MacLaren v. Arthur S. Robinson, [1960] S.C.R. 611, refd to.

Gauthier & Company Limited v. The King, [1945] S.C.R. 145, refd to.

Statutes Noticed:

Highway Traffic Act, S.N. 1962, c. 82, sect. 114.


W. Wells, for the plaintiff-appellant;

F.A. Woolridge, for the defendant-respondent.

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