My neighbor has got a big fish pond which alludes to many children as it is not confined in a compound. One day when I was passing by, I saw two children in danger of drowning and as a good citizen, I jumped in the pond to rescue the duo. In the course of rescuing the children, I got injured. Considering my financial position, I politely asked my neighbor to cover at least the costs of medication but he refused on the pretext that I willingly injured myself as I was not invited to rescue the children. Can I sue this neighbour of mine? Please guide.
Your neighbor wants to seek refuge in the doctrine of volenti non-fit injuria meaning, “to a willing person, no injury is done”. It is a general defence in tortious suits for a defendant to claim that if a person willingly consents to the infliction of harm upon them is not entitled to get any remedy. It goes that any harm suffered voluntarily by anyone does not amount to legal injury and the same is not actionable under the law of torts. While aware of that doctrine, there is a chance that this doctrine may not apply in your scenario and your neighbor could be held liable for your injury.
The rescue case is one of the exceptions to the applicability of the doctrine of volenti non-fit injuria. Under this exception, when the plaintiff willingly faces a risk to rescue someone from the danger which has been created by the wrongful acts of the defendant, then the defendant cannot take the defense of volenti non-fit injuria. In your case, you volunteered to rescue the drowning children at the instance of your negligent neighbor who failed to put measures to prevent children getting into danger despite having such duty of care. It is likelier than not that your neighbor is liable for your injury and as such there is a high possibility of succeeding in your claim against your neighbor.