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THE APPROACH TO A CLAIM IN NEGLIGENCE

Dictum

The approach to a claim in negligence comes into operation in the following circumstances: (a) On proof of the happening of an unexplained occurrence; (b) When the occurrence is one which would not have happened in the ordinary course of things without the negligence on the part of somebody other than the plaintiff and (c) The circumstances point to the negligence in question being that of the defendant rather than that of any other person.

– Shuaibu JCA. Diamond Bank v. Mocok (2019)

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ONUS OF PROVING NEGLIGENCE IS ON THE CLAIMANT

The onus of proving negligence is on the claimant who alleges it and unless and until that is proved, the onus of proof does not shift. In other words, where a claimant pleads and relies on negligence by conduct or action of a defendant, the claimant must prove by evidence the conduct or action and the circumstance of its occurrence which gave rise to the breach of the duty of care owed the claimant. It is only after this that the burden shifts to the defendant to adduce evidence to challenge the negligence on his part Universal Trust Bank of Nigeria Plc Vs Ozoemena supra.

— H.A.O. Abiru, JCA. P.W. Ltd. v. Mansel Motors (2017) – CA/J/240/2016

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BURDEN OF PROOF OF NEGLIGENCE

Furthermore, the burden of proof of negligence falls on the appellant who alleges negligence. This is because negligence is a question of fact, and it is the duty of the party who asserts it to prove it. Thus, the failure to prove particulars of negligence pleaded is fatal to the case of the appellant.

– M.L. Shuaibu, J.C.A. Dekan Nig. Ltd. v. Zenith Bank Plc – CA/C/12/2020

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NEGLIGENCE IS A QUESTION OF FACT NOT OF LAW

It is settled that negligence is a question of fact and not of law. So, each case must be decided in the light of facts pleaded and proved. No one case, is exactly like another. – NIMPAR, J.C.A. Diamond Bank v. Mocok (2019)

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NEGLIGENCE IS A MATTER OF FACT, NOT LAW

This position of the law is inevitable because what amounts to negligence is not law but a question of fact which must be decided according to the facts and circumstances of a particular case. See: KALLZA v. JAMAKANI TRANSPORT LTD. (1961) ALL NLR 747; NGILARI V. MOTHERCAT LIMITED (1999) LPELR SC; (1999) 13 NWLR (PT. 636) 626.

— U. Onyemenam, JCA. P.W. Ltd. v. Mansel Motors (2017) – CA/J/240/2016

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NEGLIGENCE INGREDIENT

In AGBONMAGBE BANK LTD. v. C.F.A.O 1966 ANLR S.C. 130, the Supreme Court on what a plaintiff suing for Negligence must establish held that plaintiff must show that the Defendant owed him a duty of care and that he suffered damage in consequence of the Defendant’s failure to take care.

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MEANING OF NEGLIGENCE

Negligence is the omission or failure to do something which a reasonable man under similar circumstances can do, or the doing of something which a reasonable or prudent man would not do. More often than not, Negligence in civil matters occur in form of a breach of duty to take care.

— O. Oyewumi, J. Aseidu v Japaul (2019) – NICN/AK/01/2016

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