O'Rourke v McGuinness

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Date18 January 1942
O'Rourke v. McGuinness.
MICHAEL S. O'ROURKE
Plaintiff
and
JOHN McGUINNESS, Defendant (1)

Supreme Court

Negligence - Evidence of - Collision between motor car driven by plaintiff and motor lorry driven by defendant - Plaintiff unable to give any evidence as to the collision owing to injuries received - No witness of the collision - Lorry on wrong side of road after collision - Tyre marks showing that lorry on wrong side of road immediately before collision - Inference from marks - Tear on road surface - Res ipsa loquitur - Trial Judge's direction in favour of defendant - New trial.

Plaintiff brought an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained as a result of a collision between a motor car driven by him and a motor lorry driven by the defendant. Owing to the nature of the injuries he received, the plaintiff was unable to give any evidence as to how the accident occurred, but he remembered that immediately before the accident he was driving on his own side of the road at approximately 30 m.p.h. Evidence was given that the road was 53 feet wide at the place where the accident occurred and that after the accident, the defendant's lorry was lying on its side, partly on the road and partly across the grass margin on the plaintiff's correct side of the road. The plaintiff's car was lying beside the lorry. There were marks on the road, one a tear in the road surface—presumably where the impact occurred—14 feet 10 inches from the grass margin across which the lorry was lying, and a track on the same side of the road which ran from the front wheel of the lorry diagonally towards the centre of the road for a distance of 27 feet. There were no marks on the side of the road on which the lorry should have travelled. At the close of the plaintiff's evidence the defendant applied for a direction on the ground that there was no evidence that he had been negligent or that any of the alleged acts of negligence caused the plaintiff's injuries. The trial Judge (Hanna J.) gave the direction. On an application for a new trial:

Held by the Supreme Court that there was evidence from which the jury could have inferred that at the time of the collision the lorry was entirely on its wrong side of the road without any apparent reason, that this caused the collision and that the defendant was negligent. Accordingly the direction given by the trial Judge was erroneous and a new trial must be ordered.

New Trial Motion.

The plaintiff brought an action...

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3 cases
  • Dunne (an Infant) v National Maternity Hospital
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 14 April 1989
    ...197. Cooke v. Walsh [1984] I.R. 710; [1984] I.L.R.M. 208. Gahan v. Engineering Products Ltd. [1971] I.R. 30. O'Rourke v. McGuinness [1942] I.R. 554. Holohan v. Donohoe [1986] I.R. 45; [1986] I.L.R.M. 250. Whitehouse v. Jordan [1981] 1 W.L.R. 246; [1981] 1 All E.R. 267. Daniels v. Heskin [19......
  • Connaughton v Minister for Justice and Anor
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 30 March 2012
    ...v RYAN & ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BOARD 2008 4 IR 537 MAHON v DUBLIN & LUCAN ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO 1905 39 ILTR 126 O'ROURKE v MCGUINNESS 1942 IR 554 JONES v GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY CO 1930 47 TLR 39 ROTHWELL v MOTOR INSURERS BUREAU OF IRELAND 2003 1 IR 268 2003 1 ILRM 521 2003/46/11196 HANRAHAN v ......
  • Pettigrew v Farrell
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 March 1956
    ...evidence and the inferences to be drawn from that evidence are of course for the jury and not for the judge. 8 In O'Rourke v. McGuinness 1942 I.R. 554 Murnaghan J. said: "In an action for negligence the onus of proving negligence is on the plaintiff but there is a distinction between onus o......

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