Whenever an individual gets injured and reports the case to the court, the priority is always to identify the careless person responsible for the damage. In tort law, negligence is defined as the failure to employ objective and sensible care in various circumstances. Consequently, as indicated in the previous section, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s behavior was the actual and proximal cause of the injury. However, basing accusations on the two elements might not always be sufficient because, in most cases, the damages caused were foreseeable.
Foreseeability is a component of the injury law that is often applied in deciding the proximate cause of the damages incurred after an accident. Consequently, a foreseeability test is always necessary to question if the tortfeasor was in a position to objectively foresee the harmful repercussions that would result from her actions. The Ford v. Fisheries Co. case is a perfect example of foreseeability and proximate cause in tort law. The plaintiff, an employee of Fisheries Co., was working in the defendant’s boat one night when he accidentally fell overboard. Efforts to rescue him were futile, but it was identified that the watercraft used only had one roar.
The management of the plaintiff’s estate sued Fisheries Co. for negligence against the plaintiff as the main cause of his death. However, the defendant was never held liable for the injury because there was no evidence to demonstrate the company’s actions as the proximal cause of Ford’s death. Moreover, Fisheries Co. was in no position to foresee that the plaintiff would fall overboard that night and therefore cannot be held accountable.
When developing the correlation between the proximate cause and the concept of foreseeability, it is important to note that the latter is limited to the scope of liability. This constraint applies when there are multi-event sequences involved by only covering the type of harm involved and how it was conducted, excluding the degree of injuries caused. In the unforeseeable type of harm, the accused is not liable for any resulting injuries if the damage does not originate from her negligent act. For instance, in the Ford v. Fisheries case, the defendant cannot be liable for Ford’s death because the accident never resulted from the company’s breach of duty.
On the other hand, the unforeseeable manner of harm does not hold a tortfeasor liable for injuries caused by an unpredictable superseding cause. For instance, the fact that Fisheries Co. only provided a single oar in the boat used to rescue Ford, the company cannot be held accountable for the plaintiff’s death because the accident was unforeseeable.
The unforeseeable level of injury is excluded from the law’s scope of liability because it states that the tortfeasor is entirely responsible for the degree of harm regardless of whether it was expected or not. For instance, if the boat Ford was using on the night of the accident was faulty, then Fisheries Co. would have been liable for the plaintiff’s death, notwithstanding the issue of the single oar used to rescue Ford. The eggshell skull rule is often used in such cases because it states that the weakness or pre-existing conditions of a victim should never be used as a defense. Consequently, regardless of the plaintiff’s state before the unforeseeable harm, the defendant is fully liable for all injuries caused.