Monday, January 19, 2009


An acquaintance recently injured herself having had a bit much to drink. The following morning, thinking herself fit to drive, she drove herself to the local hospital. After treatment she headed for her car, at which point hospital staff, realising she was over the limit, offered her a taxi voucher to cover the short ride home. She refused the voucher, arriving home to find police waiting for her, hospital staff having dobbed her in. Her driver's licence is now suspended.

I reckon it's fair enough she lost her licence but, if this legal decision is any indication, it seems she could have contested the infringement, arguing that hospital staff should have prevented her driving.
A Tasmanian woman whose husband was killed in a motorcycle accident has successfully sued the hotel he was drinking at for giving him his keys and allowing him to leave on his bike.

Shane John Scott was more than five times over the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his bike at Orford on the state's east coast seven years ago.

Mr Scott went to the Tandara Motor Inn at Triabunna for a few drinks in January 2002.

He consumed about seven cans of whiskey and cola, and a beer.

Mr Scott gave his motorbike keys to the publican and his bike was locked in the hotel storeroom.

However, when he was ready to leave Mr Scott became aggressive and demanded his keys and bike back.

The publican gave them to him.

I'm sure bar staff would like to know how much force can be used to prevented intoxicated patrons driving.


Anonymous ar said...

That's a stretch. What responsibility should the hospital have - presumably they didn't serve her drinks.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous ar said...

Now I think about it, she'd have a better case suing the hospital for breach of privacy. If the hospital had given the police any more information than her car registration number, she might have a case.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gee, if he was angry and threatening, couldn't they call the police?

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Legal Eagle said...

The thing about negligence law is that it's often really a battle between insurers. Therefore courts are prepared to put onerous duties on people because it's the insurers who really pay. But in the end, we all pay via higher insurance premiums.

The other night, a young couple started having a screaming argument outside my parents' place. The man was trying to prevent the woman from driving (they were both drunk). Eventually she got in the car, and he attempted to wrest the car wheel off her. The car was weaving all over the place. My parents rang the police, and the police weren't interested - they simply said that if no crime had been committed, nothing could be done.

5:13 PM  

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