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Tort Law: Negligence (legal Causation)

6 Questions  I  By Chriscullen
Tort Law: Negligence (Legal Causation)
This will cover Legal causation as taught in the lectures by Kartina.

  
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1.  Causation in Law is broken down into two parts;
  1. REMOTENESS of the harm
  2. A BREAK IN THE CHAIN OF CAUSATION
The test for remoteness of the damage is; was the kind of damage suffered by the claimant REASONABLY FORESEEABLE at the time the breach occurred? In the WAGON MOUND (NO 1) case, was a thin layer of oil floating on the surface of the water; catching fire because of welding taking place on another boat; subsequently causing extensive damage to other boats... reasonably foreseeable?
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2.  So a layer of oil on the surface of water, catching fire and causing damage to the surrounding boats was not reasonably foreseeable in the FIRST case where it happened... But in WAGON MOUND (NO 2) it was reasonably foreseeable - because it had already happened in the first case... Back on the structure: in this case, a farm was infested with rats, a worker contracted WEILS DISEASE as a result of contact with rat urine. This was not seen to be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of having a rat infested field - rat bites and contaminated food were foreseeable, but not contracting a disease.
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3.  In this case, the defendant's employee left a manhole open overnight, with a tent covering it and parafin lamps lit around it. An 8 year old child played with the lamps, which caused an explosion and burnt the child. It was foreseeable that the leaving parafin lamps around could lead to burns.
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4.  This case established the "thin (egg shell) skull rule." If the TYPE of damage is foreseeable then the defendant is for the entire damage regardless of the extent. In this case, the claimant's lip was splashed with molton metal; on a pre-cancerous growth. This activated the cancer, so the employer was liable for entire damage despite the growth being a special factor.
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5.  If there is a break in the chain of causation (novus actus interveniens) then the liability lapses - as you did not ultimately cause the result. A LATER NEGLIGENT ACT can break the chain of causation In this case, a police officer was told to stop traffic on the other side of a contra-flow after a road accident. The officer, instead of going in the same direction of the traffic (the long way around) went the wrong direction and caused a collision. The claimant sued the original defendant - but the police officer driving the wrong way amounted to a break in the chain of causation.
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6.  An act of the claimant, with the effect of worsening the damage, can amount to an intervening act thus a break in the chain of causation. In this case, the claimant suffered a leg injury at work - and then walked down stairs without using the hand rail, fell and worsened his injuries. Not using the hand rail was an intervening act.
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