It is not necessary, in a negligence case, that the defendant foresee the exact sequence of events which led to the accident sued upon; it is only necessary that the general type of accident which has occurred was within the scope of the danger created by the defendant's negligence, or, stated differently, it must be shown that the said general-type accident was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant's negligence. Moreover, it has long been held that proximate cause issues are generally for juries to decide using their common sense upon appropriate instructions, although occasionally when reasonable people cannot differ, the issue has been said to be one of law for the court.
Appellant parents sued, inter alia, appellee architect and appellee university, after a brick wall collapsed after being struck by a car and killed their daughter. Appellants argued that appellee architect had negligently designed the brick wall, and that appellee university negligently allowed the wall to be erected and maintained. The lower court granted summary judgment to both appellees, finding that the decedent's death was the result of such a bizarre accident that it was not foreseeable to appellees and thus there was no proximate cause.
Is it necessary for a negligent defendant to foresee the exact sequence of events which led to the accident sued upon in order to be liable?
The court held that it is not necessary that a negligence defendant foresee the exact sequence of events which led to the accident sued upon. Since appellants' allegations were such that it could be concluded that appellees should have foreseen that their wall could collapse on people if struck with sufficient force, proximate cause could be established.