Derby accident claim solicitors

McIntosh Fleming Lawyers, specialise in no win, no fee accident claims, and we guarantee that you keep all of your compensation without any deduction for our charges. Get in touch with Derby accident claims solicitors by e-mailing gary.dickie@btinternet.com , or ring us on 01332 518135 .

Causation

A claimant is entitled to recover damages for personal injuries caused or materially contributed to by the defendant’s negligence.

In the vast majority of cases, if any degree of injury is foreseeable the claimant will be able to recover the whole extent of it. This broad approach is often reduced to a consideration of the so-called ‘but for’ test. A claimant must prove that but for the defendant’s wrongful conduct he would not have sustained the harm or loss in question. Exceptionally this is not so where for policy reasons the courts relax these strict causation principles to enable damage to be attributable to the defendant’s breach of duty with a different degree of causal connection. This is exemplified in employers’ liability by the industrial diseases cases where issues of material contribution to the damage are considered differently.

The principles of causation may be summarised that, where a claimant can establish that the injury or damage he sustained was foreseeable, it is still necessary for the claimant, on whom the burden of proof lies, to establish that the wrongful act of the defendant was a cause of it, or at least materially contributed to it.

The first and crucial point in establishing causation is to establish the relevant cause and thus to eliminate irrelevant causes. This is the purpose of the ‘but for’ test, since the court is concerned not to identify a variety of potential causes for the claimant’s damage but to establish the effective cause in order to identify the party responsible for that damage. So although the issue of causation might simply be stated as ‘Did the defendant’s act cause the claimant’s injury or loss?’ in this more specific context the issue is ‘Would the damage suffered by the claimant have occurred “but for” the negligence or breach of duty of the defendant?’ Put differently, it is for the claimant to establish that had the defendant not committed the breach of duty concerned, his injury would not have occurred.

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