Case Brief Wiki


A truck driven by an employee of Smith Transport came into an intersection and crashed into a streetcar operated by T.T.C. The driver had syphilis of the brain and was not in control of his actions at the time of the accident. The trial judge found for the plaintiffs which Smith Transport appealed.


  1. Is insanity an acceptable defence in negligence, or is the defendant still responsible for his actions?


Appeal allowed.


The court found that the man’s mind was so affected at the time of the accident that he was not able to understand his duty to take care in his actions. They also stated that in pleadings of insanity the onus is always on the party claiming insanity to prove that is sufficiently connected with the inability to understand the duty of care to discharge liability.


Mental disorder alone is not enough to eliminate liability – it must be proven that the disorder directly affected the party’s ability to understand their duty of care in the accident.