First Principles of Business Law

The tort of Negligence

4.1.The foreseeablity of harm

4.1.1. The requirement of foreseeable harm




A defendant will only be liable for harm caused by their careless conduct if, in the circumstances, it was foreseeable that the conduct engaged in by the defendant would likely cause harm to the plaintiff. But this broad statement raises some important questions.

  • Is the foreseeability of harm judged objectively or subjectively?
  • With what degree of precision must the way in which the harm will occur be foreseeable?
  • How likely must the occurrence of foreseeable harm be before a duty to prevent that harm will arise?

These matters are considered on the following pages.











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