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Causation and Negligence in Legal Disputes

  • 01 Pages
  • Published On: 17-11-2023

1. The legal action was dismissed on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to establish on the balance of probabilities that the defendants' negligence had caused death. This was based on the reasoning that even if the victim had been admitted to the ward five hours before his death and treated with all care, he would still have died. Thus, as the plaintiff was not able to establish that the action of the defendant caused the death of the victim, they failed to establish that negligence led to the death.


2. The reasoning used by the court here is deductive reasoning where the court is concerned with locating the causation and linking it to the damage suffered by the victim. In this case, deductive reasoning is used to assess whether there is a breach of a duty of care in which step, the court is concerned with evidencing of negligence and whether such breach led to the loss suffered by the victim. If such loss is established, then the court will decide whether damages should be awarded. Because the court is concerned with the locating of the causation, the reasoning involved is deductive in nature. This is so because the reasons that are identified as leading to the dismissal of the case are based on a logical deduction derived from the question whether ‘but for’ the action of the defendant the plaintiff would have suffered damage. The decision of the court to dismiss the case is based on the answer to this question and relates to the causation question. Therefore, the reasoning is deductive in nature.

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3. The judge has made an important assumption based on the evidence presented and based on this assumption, the judgment is given. The assumption is that even if the victim had been admitted to the hospital instead of being discharged, the victim would have still died. This is based on the assumption (derived from general practice) that there was no chance of B.A.L. being administered to the victim before his death as even if the victim had been admitted, some time would have lapsed before such administration was made. Without such administration, the victim would have died anyway. The inference that is drawn from the evidence presented before the court related to the general practice is that even if the victim had received the medical care, there was little chance of his survival.

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