Torts: Fault apportionment v. Causal apportionment

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ltp93
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:59 pm

Torts: Fault apportionment v. Causal apportionment

Postby ltp93 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:05 pm

Hello everyone,

As I'm reviewing for Torts, I am noticing that courts have used fault apportionment for "single, indivisible injuries" and used causal apportionment for "divisible injuries."

But, my confusion is mainly, what is the difference? To be at fault for something, don't you also have to be the one who caused it?

Any clarification I can get would be extremely helpful.

Thanks.

nucky thompson
Posts: 290
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Torts: Fault apportionment v. Causal apportionment

Postby nucky thompson » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:36 pm

fault apportionment when multiple people cause harm to P, but you cannot determine which D caused the injury

Ex: P gets in a car accident w. D1. After exchanging info, P drives on. Then D2 crashes into P. P suffers a back problem, but there is no way of telling which D caused which harm - you do fault apportionment of each D (how much at fault was their N act)

causal apportionment when multiple people cause harm to P, but you can actually determine which Negligent act caused the injury

Ex: P gets in car accident w. D1. Suffers an arm injury. P drives on. D2 crahses into P, P suffers a leg injury. You know which harm each D actually caused. One did leg, one did arm - do causal apportionment

musicfor18
Posts: 692
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Torts: Fault apportionment v. Causal apportionment

Postby musicfor18 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:20 pm

Anybody can correct me if I'm wrong on this:

First of all, assuming both Ds breach the duty of reasonable care under the circumstances, I think we'd approach cause-in-fact using Summers v. Tice alternative liability. In terms of proximate cause, I think we'd find that both Ds proximately caused the injury (because it was within the scope of foreseeable risk caused by negligent driving, and there's no basis in the facts given to conclude that the second D's negligence was a supervening cause).

So, when it comes to apportioning damages, it's correct that it can't be done by causation because it's a single, indivisible injury. You can only apportion by causation if you can identify discrete causes for discrete injuries. In the case of an indivisible injury, the two Ds would be held jointly and severally liable, and each would ultimately be liable either for a pro-rata share (in a contributory negligence state) or their equitable share (in a comparative fault state). The equitable share approach would require the jury to somehow determine the percentage of fault for each D.

Right?




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