There were over forty appellate decisions during the past year in the field of Torts. All but about half a dozen of these involved Negligence, and half of the Negligence cases involved traffic accidents. A reading of this latter group is well calculated to induce an automobile driver to use more care in the future.
In the great majority of Negligence cases the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty to use care. As Judge Howard expressed it in Monday v. Millsaps: "Whenever one person is by circumstances placed in such a position with regard to another that it is obvious that he must use care to avoid injury to such other person, the duty at once arises to exercise care to avoid the danger commensurate with the circumstances." The statement is a little too broad to apply as a generalization in all negligence cases, but it is quite appropriate for all but a few exceptions. ...
The dominant impression to be gained from a survey of the several cases involving contributory negligence last year is that plaintiff's negligence is becoming less effective as a complete defense. Occasionally there is a jury verdict for defendant apparently based on this ground, but there were no cases in which defendant won on--this basis as a matter of law.
John W. Wade,
Torts -- 1954 Tennessee Survey,
7 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol7/iss5/16