Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Tilghman,
237 U.S. 499 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Tilghman, 237 U.S. 499 (1915)

Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Tilghman

No. 713

Argued April 22, 23, 1915

Decided May 17, 1915

237 U.S. 499


The Federal Employers' Liability Act rejects the common law rule that contributory negligence is a complete defense and adopts the more reasonable rule that the damages shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the injured employee. Where the causal negligence is attributable partly to the carrier and partly to the injured employee, the latter is not to recover full damages, but only a diminished sum bearing the same relation to the full damages that the negligence attributable to the carrier bears to the negligence attributable to both, the purpose being to exclude from the recovery a proportional part of the total damages corresponding to the employe's contribution to the total negligence.

The trial court should not commit to the jury the duty of determining the amount in which the damages should be diminished by reason of the contributory negligence of the employee without advising them of the rule prescribed by the statute for determining the amount of the diminution. It should not be left to their conception of what is reasonable.

167 N.C. 163 reversed.

Page 237 U. S. 500

The facts, which involve the validity of a verdict in the state court in an action for personal injuries brought under the Employers' Liability Act, are stated in the opinion.

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