There is specific statutory language that we can use to reduce the amount of damages that Ms. Jones will have to provide to Michael. Specifically, in the Contributory Negligence and Tortfeasor's Act of 1947, Western Australia has added some provisions that can mitigate the damages. Specifically, the statute states: Whenever in any claim for damages founded on an allegation of negligence the Court is satisfied that the defendant was guilty of an act of negligence conducing to the happening of the event which caused the damage then notwithstanding that the plaintiff had the last opportunity of avoiding or could by the exercise of reasonable care, have avoided the consequences of the defendant's act or might otherwise be held guilty of contributory negligence, the defendant shall not for that reason be entitled to judgment, but the Court shall reduce the damages which would be recoverable by the plaintiff if the happening of the event which caused the damage had been solely due to the negligence of the defendant to such extent as the Court thinks just in accordance with the degree of negligence attributable to the plaintiff.
This statute specifically applies to the facts of this case. There is no question that Michael's refusal to wear the seat belt contributed, in the smallest of degrees, to the injuries that he suffered. However, to hold Ms. Jones 100% liable and exact damages upon her would be a miscarriage of justice. The statutory language clearly states that the Defendant would not be in a position to win the case; however, the Court does have the authorization to reduce the amount of damages awarded to the Plaintiff to equal the negligence committed on behalf of the Defendant. In other words, this statutory language gives the court to assign a dollar amount to the Defendant's negligent actions and therefore award the Plaintiff damages in that amount.
Based on the facts of the case that are not disputable and the clear statutory language, the senior partner is in a strong position to argue the amount of damages awarded to the Plaintiff should be equal to the damages caused by the direct negligence of the Defendant. Therefore, this statutory provision authorizes the court to reduce the damages by exacting from the award the amount attributed to the Contributory Negligence of the Plaintiff.