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Foreseeability Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Foreseeability and the related topic of personal injury.  For more information on the topic of foreseeability see the pages on Wikipedia.


1994 Holcombe v. NationsBanc, 248 Va. 445, 450 S.E.2d 158. For more information on the topic of foreseeability see the pages on Wikipedia.

Plaintiff was employee of contractor cleaning restroom in bank when partition fell on her. Partition had been in position for at least couple of months where branch manager of bank was aware that partition might topple. Plaintiff testified that while vacuuming in bathroom she might have hit partitions very slightly causing them to fall. Plaintiff in this instance was invitee and jury issue existed as to foreseeability of this occurrence.

1991 Blondel v. Hays, 241 Va. 467, 403 S.E.2d 340.

Foreseeability.Plaintiff offered instruction indicating that defendant need not have foreseen precise injury that occurred. Plaintiff’s evidence, however, was that defendant should have foreseen precise injury alleged by plaintiff, As such this instruction was inconsistent with evidence and therefore was properly refused.

1990 Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock v. Scovel, 240 Va. 472, 397 S.E.2d 884.

Foreseeability.Plaintiff was on board ship when he felt something brush against his leg and he jumped up, injuring his back. Object that hit his leg turned out to be rolled up candy wrapper that had been thrown by another seaman through hatch above. This did not constitute actionable negligence. Negligence carries with it liability for consequences that in light of circumstances could reasonably have been anticipated by prudent person, but not for casualties which though possible, were wholly improbable. In order for negligence to be actionable a defendant need not have anticipated or have foreseen precise injuries sustained, but it is sufficient if ordinarily careful or prudent person under circumstances to have anticipated that an injury might probably result from act. Injury in this case was not foreseeable.

1984 Page v. Arnold, 227 Va. 74, 314 S.E.2d 57.

Foreseeability.Pony is alleged to have jumped fence and was standing in roadway when struck. Record in this case is devoid of evidence having any probative value to prove pony had ability and propensity to jump fence in question and as such there was no basis upon which to submit to jury question of whether it was reasonably foreseeable that pony would escape under these circumstances. There was no reason for defendants to have anticipated that confining pony in this enclosure was liable to result in injury to others.

1983 VEPCO v. Winesett, 225 Va. 459, 303 S.E.2d 868.

Foreseeability.It is not necessary that precise occurrence be foreseen. Rather plaintiff must only show reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances ought to have anticipated that injury might result from negligent acts.

1982 VEPCO v. Savoy Constr. Co., 224 Va. 36, 292 S.E.2d 811.

For negligence to be proximate cause, it is unnecessary that precise occurrence be foreseen but only necessary that reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances ought to have anticipated that injury might probably result from negligent acts.

1979 Jordan v. Jordan, 220 Va. 160, 257 S.E.2d 761.

Wife backed over husband who was squatting behind auto. Action of husband not foreseeable.

1975 Indian Acres of Thornburg, Inc. v. Denion, 215 Va. 847, 213 S.E.2d 797.

Plaintiff struck by falling concrete thrown from silo by 12-year-old boy. Boy obtained concrete and used silo on property under construction and owned by defendant. No liability on part of owner-developer. Not foreseeable.

1974 Gulf Reston, Inc. v. Rogers, 215 Va. 155, 207 S.E.2d 841.

Could not be reasonably foreseen from prior acts that there was likelihood that acts of criminal violence would be committed on tenants. Imposition of duty does not depend on foreseeability.

1966 Smith v. Prater, 206 Va. 693, 146 S.E.2d 179.

Defendant was driving ten-year-old worn out automobile with three persons in front seat at excessive speed around sharp curves. Plaintiff fell out of door. Such accident was foreseeable.

1965 Limberg v. Lent, 206 Va. 425, 143 S.E.2d 872.

Use of screwdriver as chisel. Defendant did not fail to observe duty owed to plaintiff if it was not within reasonably foreseeability that defendant’s actions might cause injury to him. This was jury question.

1964 Barnette v. Dickens, 205 Va. 12, 135 S.E.2d 109.

Exact nature of injury need not be foreseeable.

1963 Dockery v. City of Norton, 204 Va. 752, 133 S.E.2d 296.

Once it is determined that act is negligent, guilty party is liable for consequences that naturally flow therefrom.

1963 Gilliland v. Singleton, 204 Va. 115, 129 S.E.2d 641.

Prior knowledge of icy road conditions certainly made danger foreseeable.

1962 Balderson v. Robertson, 203 Va. 484, 125 S.E.2d 180.

Plaintiff ordered workers to unload logs from truck, left area, and then shortly thereafter returned to unloading area. Presence of plaintiff in area not foreseeable.

1953 Thalhimer Bros. v. Buckner, 194 Va. 1011, 76 S.E.2d 215.

Accident that is not reasonably to be foreseen by man in exercise of ordinary caution and prudence may not be ground of negligence action.

1952 Northern Va. Power Co. v. Bailey, 194 Va. 464, 73 S.E.2d 425.

Person is not chargeable with foreseeing untoward events beyond his control. Slipping, falling or stumbling are usually classed as unforeseeable accidents and person is not charged with duty to foresee them unless danger is reasonably apparent.

1952 New Bay Shore Corp. v. Lewis, 193 Va. 400, 69 S.E.2d 320.

In order for defendant’s negligence to be proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury, it is sufficient if ordinarily prudent and careful person ought, under same or similar circumstances, to have anticipated that injury might probably result.

1948 Corbett v. Clarke, 187 Va. 222, 46 S.E.2d 327.

Aggravation of injury by negligent treatment by doctor is foreseeable.

1947 Jefferson Hosp. v. Van Lear, 186 Va. 74, 41 S.E.2d 441.

Plaintiff was elderly patient confined to bed in hospital. He rang bell for nurse to assist him in answering call of nature. Nurse did not respond. Plaintiff got out of bed to relieve himself and fell. Conduct of plaintiff was foreseeable.

1947 P.L. Farmer v. Cimino, 185 Va. 965, 41 S.E.2d 1.

To establish liability, it is not necessary that defendant foresee particular injury.

1946 Houston v. Strickland, 184 Va. 994, 37 S.E.2d 64.

Once it has been determined that act is negligent, defendant is liable for all consequences that naturally flow therefrom. Here, plaintiff was evicted from bus in intoxicated condition and was killed on busy highway. Defendant common carrier is liable.

1943 Dennis v. Odend’Hal-Monks Corp., 182 Va. 77, 28 S.E.2d 4.

Foreseeability.Defendant left poisonous substance in cola bottle on truck in reach of minors. Plaintiff opened bottle and swallowed substance. Plaintiff was child. Supreme Court held it is not negligence to fail to take precautionary steps to prevent injury when injury could not reasonably have been anticipated and would not have happened but for exceptional circumstances.

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Foreseeability Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

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