Smyth v Industrial Gases (IFS) Ltd (1950)

In Smyth v Industrial Gases (IFS) Ltd (1950) 84 ILTR 1 (SC), Maguire CJ has stated that “the question as to whether an intervention of a third party should be regarded as breaking the chain of causation depends on whether, in the circumstances of the case, the defendants ought reasonably to have foreseen that such an intervention might take place.”

Critical Discussion

David and Brenda work in Healthy Jims, a gym in central Dublin. They live near one another so they carshare and take turns driving to work. One morning David is giving Brenda a lift to work. His daughter gave him a sticker the night before which says “Warning, passengers carried at their own risk!” David thought that the sticker was funny, so stuck it on the dashboard of his car before going to meet Brenda.

When she sees the sticker, Brenda makes a joke and asks David if he is planning to crash the car. David laughs and says no, but tells Brenda to, “take care of herself.” In all the excitement Brenda forgets to put on her seatbelt. On the way to work, David crashes into a lamppost. He crashed the car while trying to avoid another car that was being driven by Sally. Sally had been texting on her phone and had veered over to David’s side of the road.

Smyth v Industrial Gases

Brenda is thrown through the windshield and suffers considerable injuries. As she is lying on the road bleeding, Mark sees her and faints. After he comes round, he cannot stop thinking about the blood and the sight of Brenda lying on the road injured. He attends a psychiatrist, who tells him that he is suffering from PTSD brought about by the aftermath of the accident he witnessed.

After recovering from his injuries, David is shocked to find that both Brenda and Mark are suing him for their injuries. He asks for your advice.

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