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An Alternative to the Basic Causal Requirement for Liability under the Negligence Rule
NBER
2023.05.22
The primary causal requirement that must be met for a negligent party to be held liable for a harm is a demonstration that the harm would not have occurred if the party had not been negligent. Thus, for a speeding driver to be found liable for harm done in a car accident, it must be shown that the accident would not have happened if the driver had obeyed the speed limit. The main point made here is that this basic causal requirement may be difficult to satisfy and hence may interfere with the discouragement of negligence. Therefore, an alternative and usually easier-to-meet causal requirement is proposed―that the harm would not have occurred if the party not been engaged in his activity (if the driver had not been driving).