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.
- 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
- Smith V Leech Brain co. ( minor molten metal burn whilst working)
- This triggered a pre-existing cancerous condition which resulted in death and thus negligence.
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