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Tort. Causation and Remoteness

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Tort. Causation and Remoteness
1. Causation

General Test

Barnett v Chelsea Hospital [1969] 1 QB 428: P drank some tea which had been laced with arsenic and he presented himself at D’s hospital since he was vomiting. D told him to leave and call his own doctor. P died, but it was unclear that even if he had been admitted to the hospital he would have survived. P’s widow sued for negligence. The court held that there was proximity since P had presented himself at D’s hospital, and that D was negligent in not treating him. However it was not proven that on the balance of probabilities P’s negligence caused D’s death, since he might have died anyway if he had been admitted to hospital.

Performance Cars v Abraham [1962] 1 QB 33: P had a car collision with X that meant P’s car needed a respray. He then collided with D, through D’s negligence, which would of itself have necessitated a respray. P sued D for the cost of a respray. CA ruled that since P’s car already needed a respray, the need for it did not flow from D’s negligence and therefore he would not be liable. Lord Evershed MR says to allow P to claim for damage that merely “would have” been caused by D in other circumstances is absurd: suppose A chips my windscreen so I have to get a new one and then you chip it: surely you shouldn’t compensate me because there is no extra damage caused by your action.

Baker v Willoughby [1970] AC 467 (NB CONFINED TO CASES OF TWO TORTIOUS ACTS BY JOBLING): P walked into the middle of the road and D, driving, ran into him, causing damage to P’s leg. They both saw each other over 200 yds and neither took evasive action. The fault was ruled to be 25% P’s and 75% D’s. Shortly after the accident P was shot in the leg and it had to be amputated immediately. HL held that the subsequent shooting was irrelevant to the amount of damages that D had to pay, and that D would have to pay the value of 25% of the damage to the leg overall (i.e. NO reduction despite the fact that D did not cause the leg to be shot

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