Bexiga (a minor) worked at Regina's factory. He got his
hand caught in a "power punch press" and was injured. He sued
Havir, the manufacturer of the machine.
There were no safety devices on the machine to stop
someone from putting their hand in it.
Safety devices existed for the machine, but Havir didn't
The Trial Court found for Havir and dismissed the case.
The Trial Court found that Bexiga was contributorily
The Appellate Court affirmed the decision to dismiss the
case. Bexiga appealed.
The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed and remanded the
case for trial.
The New Jersey Supreme Court found that, as a matter of
law, contributory negligence is not available as a defense in
cases where policy or justice dictate.
The Court felt it would be anomalous to hold that the
defendant has a duty to install safety devices but a breach of duty
results in no liability for the very injury the duty was meant to protect
Therefore, the case must go to a jury, it couldn't be
dismissed for contributory negligence.
Under today's law, this case would be settled under Workman's
Contributory negligence by the worker is not a
factor for deciding worker's comp liability.
There is no right to sue an employer for negligence
under workman's comp.
The worker cannot recover for all damages. So there is
still a reason to find someone to sue if you want to recover for things
not covered by workman's comp. For example, pain and suffering is