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Cause and Effect; the Anatomy of Liability


Cause and Effect; the Anatomy of Liability

I recently found myself at trial, facing a man who had hit himself with a sledgehammer.

Not a likely basis for a personal injury claim, you might think, and you are probably right.  However, somewhere along the line two things happened; the Claimant decided that it probably wasn’t his fault, and a Lawyer agreed with him.  Turns out that they were both wrong as he lost the trial, but it did get me thinking that causation is not greatly understood, even by some Lawyers.

Let me give you some background.  The Claimant was an experienced Carpenter with a specialism in formwork.  He was working on a site run by a Joint Venture partnership as Principal Contractor.  He was tasked with connecting formwork panels and, as he was doing so, he came across a slightly defective panel; the edge had clearly been knocked and contained a kink.  Given that the panels had to fit together perfectly, the defective panel was unsuitable.

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