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Law: Employer found liable for compensation to widow for employees suicide

In a groundbreaking case (Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd 28/02/08) an employer through breach of a Health and Safety duty of care had caused horrific injuries to an employee.

This had led to the employee experiencing a depressive illness which in turn had led him to commit suicide.

In any case where damages arising from an act of another are assessed, there is always the level of evidence required to associate or not the remoteness of the event from the initial act which occurred.

So if, say, an employer arranges to wash down a car and the water happens to flow down the street and onto a school playground, and there is an overnight frost and a teacher slips on it the morning after, was the employer liable?

In legal terms we are looking at the chain of causation.

This particular case regarding suicide sees the final act of suicide as a natural consequence of the first negligent act of the employer whereas, what some would argue is a voluntary act of taking ones life is too remote.

In this case, however, the medical evidence was sufficiently strong to tip the balance to the conclusion that suicide was a natural consequence of the depressive illness.

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