The Case Of Macpherson Vs. Stevenson's Duty Of Care
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‘It has been observed that a person “is entitled to be as negligent as he pleases towards the whole world if he owes no duty to them” . Before the twentieth century, there was no duty of care towards people to ensure that they were not injured by one’s carelessness or neglect, unless the object was usually considered dangerous. Only in certain relationships did a Duty of Care exist, for example a Doctor-Patient relationship. A change in the Duty of Care came about in the case of MacPherson v Buick 217 N.Y. 382, 111 N.E. 1050 (1916). In this case, Cardozo J proposed a new approach, ‘If the nature of a thing is such that it is reasonably certain to place life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is then a thing of danger. Its nature gives warning of the consequences to be expected. If to the element of danger there is added knowledge that the thing will be used by persons other than the purchaser, and used without new tests, then, irrespective of contract, the manufacturer of this danger is under a duty to make it carefully’ . However, it was the case of Donoghue V Stevenson that truly set out the basis for the general duty of care in negligence.
Lord Atkin’s decision in Donoghue V Stevenson was a landmark decision in the Duty of Care. In this case, Mrs Mary Donoghue suffered gastroenteritis and shock after discovering that the bottle of ginger beer she had been drinking from contained a decomposing snail. Mrs Donoghue had been at a café with her friend, who had