AS Law02 - Tort - Damage/Resulting loss

this includes:

  • causation in fact (factual causation)
  • remoteness of damage (legal causation)
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  • Created by: Henry Ng
  • Created on: 29-05-12 18:41

What is Damage?

Damage is the resulting loss when an event of negligence occurs.

There are two parts of damge:

  • causation; this is the idea that a D must have caused the loss
  • Remoteness; this is concerned with whether the loss or damage is reasonable.
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    • Both parts of causation must be proved!
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Causation in Fact

Like criminal law this uses the "but for test"

  • But for the defendants acts or omissions the claiment would not have suffered the loss or harm.
    • Barenett v Chelsea and Kensington (aresenic poisoning from the tea, called doctor but doctor gave no medical advice, resulted in death) - No causation in fact; workers would have died anyway.
  • Intervening acts; breaks the chain of causation
    • Smith v Littlewoods 1987 (vandals broke in and set fire to a cinema) - new intervening act as vandals were not common in this area.
    • Corr V IBC 2006 (severe head injuries led to depression and suicide) - negligent for head injuries but depression and suicide were new intervening acts as they were not likely results.
  • Multiple Acts; may be more than one possible cause of loss; must be based on balance of probablities. Most possible cause must be taken.
    • Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Service (asbestos poisoning) - couldnt prove causation due to multiple employers.
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Remoteness of Damage

  • Defendant is liable for damage only if it is foreseeable consequence of breach of duty.
  • Wagon Mound 1961 (oil spill that set off a fire and burnt down a wharf across the water) 
    • Damage by oil was foreseeable but fire damage was too remote to claim that there was a breach of duty.
  • Bradford v Robinson Rentals 1967 (rented van had no heating, driver was driving in the cold and resulted in frostbite on his toes)
    • although this case was unusual such a result is foreseeable.
  • Hughes v Lord Advocate 1963 (young boys went down manhole with a parrafin lamp which leaked and caused an explosion)
    • was the extreme harm linked to the foreseeability of the event?
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Exceptions of the remoteness test (reasonable fore

  • Thin skull rule; take victim as you find them
    • pre-existing conditions that made injuries worse will not lessen any liability of negligence
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      • Smith V Leech Brain co. ( minor molten metal burn whilst working)
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        • This triggered a pre-existing cancerous condition which resulted in death and thus negligence.
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