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Smith v Leech Brain [1962] 2 QB 405

A widow brought a claim against the defendant under the Fatal Accidents Act for the death of her husband. The defendant employed the husband. As a result of their negligence he incurred a burn to his lip. The lip contained pre-cancerous cells which were triggered by the injury sustained. He died three years later from cancer.


The burn was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant's negligence and this resulted in the death. The defendant was liable for his death. It was not necessary to show that death by cancer was foreseeable, nor that an ordinary person would not have died from the injury. The egg shell skull rule applies and the defendant must take his victim as he finds him.
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