Tort Law

948 words - 4 pages

Sarah as a motorist, owes a duty of care to all road users, as in the case of Nettleship V Weston, and she failed to meet the standard of a reasonable and competent driver as she was driving beyond the speed limit in a heavy snowstorm. In the case of Andrew, it is no doubt that she owes and breaches her duty, but the causation element needs to be proven so as to hold Sarah to be liable for negligence. It could be shown that, but for the failure of Sarah, Andrea would not crash into Sarah's car and resulting in his perishing, as this satisfies the but-for test in the case of Barnett V Kensington & Chelsea Hospital.

As in the case of Leila, Sarah has breached her duty owed to Leila because of her negligence act. Sarah would be liable to Leila as she would be a factual cause of her accident since Leila would not suffer serious back and neck but for negligence of Sarah. It was said that she began to suffer severe cramps in her back, and Sarah could argue that she is not liable for this additional injury as there is no medical or scientific evidence exactly exhibiting that Sarah's negligence was the cause of her cramps. Furthermore, we are told that the previous injury to her lower back she has suffered in the past could be the cause of her cramps. It is not necessary for Leila to show that Sarah's breach was the sole cause of her cramps, but she should, on the balance of probabilities that Sarah's breach was a material contributory cause of her cramps by satisfying the threshold of more than 50 percent. This can be evidenced in the case of Bonnington Castings Ltd V Wardlaw, where the claimant contracted a disease as a result of inhaling dust at work. Some of the dust was 'innocent' and 'guilty', and there was no evidence as to the proportion of innocent and guilty dust inhaled by the claimant. The court held that the defendant was liable since the guilty dust was the material cause of the disease on the balance of probabilities; by contrast, in the case of Wilsher V Essex, where the defendant's negligence of administering excessive oxygen to the baby could not be proven to be a material cause of the baby's blindness since there were 4 other potential causes. Hence, the defendant was not liable. Therefore, it all depends on whether Leila could discharge her burden by proving that Sarah's breach was more likely the cause of her cramps. However, the next question to be asked is whether there is any intervening act that might break the chain of causation in order to dissolve the liability of Sarah. As we can see that she climbed over a low wall to take a shortcut after return...

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