Cases on Doctrine of Remoteness of Damages

There are many cases related to the doctrine of basic structure and the wagon mound case is one of the most famous cases under this doctrine. it is explained below:-

The wagon mound case.

The wagon Mound was an oil burning vessel that was charted by the appellants, overseas Tankship ltd. was taking fuel at the Sydney port and the respondents, Morts Dock Company, owned a Wharf where repairs and of a ship and welding works were going on there. Due to negligence of appellant’s servants a large quantity of oil spilt out of their possession and it was carried on to respondent’s wharf. this resulted in molten metal with water and fire causing a damage to the wharf and equipment. it was said that the appellants could not forsee that the oil would catch fire. The trial court applied the rule of directness and held that the appellants are liable. Privacy council held that the appellants are not held liable. The rule of proximate cause was established in this case for the first time.

CASES RELATED TO DOCTRINE OF REMOTENESS OF DAMAGES IN INDIA

  1. Municipal Board, Kheri vs Ram Bharosey And Ors.[1] 

FACTS

The plaintiff granted a license to build a flour mill next to the respondent’s house and the house of the respondent was damaged due to the vibrations produced by the mill.

HELD

The Allahabad High Court held that the plaintiff will not be held liable because the damage did not arise as a direct consequence of the plaintiff’s act of granting the license. The court also laid down the following tests of remoteness: –

  1. Consequences intended by the wrong doer are will not be considered too remote.
  2. Consequences that are reasonable and probable will not be considered too remote.
  3. Consequences that are direct are not too remote even if they could not have been reasonable of foreseen.  
  1. Shantaben Ambalal Sutaria and … vs Valjibhai Harjibhai Patel And ors.[2] 

FACTS

the plaintiff who was returning home was knocked down by a vehicle causing multiple fractures to the person. the plaintiff was treated in the hospital for a few days and was later discharged. The plaintiff faced complaints after that and died after a few days.

HELD

The court held that there is no definite and direct relation between the dearth of the plaintiff and the accident and therefore the defendant will not be completely held liable.

10. CONCLUSION

Remoteness of damages in torts is defined using many tests and conditions. It is important to decide if the damage caused due to the tort is direct or too remote. This will help us in understanding if the plaintiff can claim for damages or not. The plaintiff must prove that the damages caused to him are not remote but direct and it was foreseeable and therefore he/ she can claim for damages.

The doctrine of remoteness of damage tells us that an event amounting to a wrong can be leading to many consequences which are interconnected leading to a series of acts or wrongs.

The damages can accordingly be proximate, direct, remote or too remote.

As explained using case laws, we can understand that in the case of remoteness of damages the decision held by the courts are mainly based on the facts and circumstances of the case and there is no hard and fast rule to decide. But a few principles as explained can help in drawing the line between direct and remote damages.


[1] A.I.R. 1961 All 430

[2] II (1992) ACC 553

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