Hitting a detonator with a hammer to see what happens. Does that (bang) sound to you like a good idea?
There are some situations where an injured person’s own conduct seems quite foolhardy in the circumstances and yet they have still been able to get compensation for their losses.
In some situations, though, the claimant’s own conduct can be seen as such an overwhelming cause of their injury that it is taken to be the only cause having any legal effect – and the injured person in that type of case is often said to be ‘the author of their own injury’. A finding of that nature means your claim fails.
In a Scottish case reported in 1957 (Donaghy –v- National Coal Board), a young miner sued his employers for damages for injuries which he suffered when he exploded a detonator by striking it with a hammer. He alleged that he had done this in the belief that, if struck sharply, a detonator would do no more than make a harmless noise.
This claim did not succeed. The judge in the Court of Session ruled that: “The chain of causation here was broken by the foolhardy act on the part of the pursuer himself in taking a hammer wherewith to strike the detonator while holding it steady with his left hand.’
The report of the case does not give any detail about the nature of the injuries which the pursuer suffered.