Harwood's servant brought a two horse carriage into a residential neighborhood and parked it across the street from a police station while he was off doing work. While the servant was away, children upset the horses and they broke free and were on a path to injure people. Haynes, a police officer, saw this from a window. He ran out and stopped the horses, the police officer got injured while rescuing . He brought an action for damages and was successful at trial. The defendant appealed.
- When someone knowingly puts himself or herself in danger to protect others, is the negligent party liable for damages suffered in the protection effort?
The court holds that in cases such as these, the volenti non fit injuria maxim does not apply. If someone acts to help those in danger as a result of a person's negligent actions, that person is liable for damages resulting from their actions as long as they are reasonable in the circumstances. Taking risk upon yourself is not applicable in rescue circumstances.
The doctrine of the assumption of risk does not apply where the plaintiff has, under exigency caused by the defendant’s wrongful misconduct, consciously and deliberately faced a risk, even of death, to rescue another from imminent danger of personal injury or death, whether the person endangered is owed a duty of care by the plaintiff or not.