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Williams v Bermuda Hospital [2016] UKSC 4

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 28/07/2023 13:09

Judgement for the case Williams v Bermuda Hospital

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Tort Law Notes

Tort Law

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Tort Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB tort law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

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  • If the defendant's negligence materially contributed to the harm, they may be held liable, even if their actions were not the sole cause of the injury.
  • In this case, the claimant's injury was caused by sepsis resulting from two factors: the hospital's negligent delay and the pre-existing sepsis that was already in progress. When multiple factors cumulatively cause an injury, it does not matter whether these factors operate concurrently or successively. 


  • Mr. Williams went to the hospital with abdominal pain, but there were significant delays in the hospital's handling of his case, including a delayed CT scan and a delay in performing surgery for a suspected acute appendicitis.
  • As a result of these delays, Mr. Williams developed sepsis caused by the ruptured appendix, leading to injuries to his heart and lungs.
  • He filed a lawsuit against the hospital board responsible for managing the hospital, seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and loss of earnings, alleging that the complications were the result of negligent treatment delays.


  • The decision reinforces the application of the material contribution doctrine, allowing claimants to seek compensation when a defendant's negligence significantly contributes to their harm, even in cases where pinpointing the exact cause may be challenging.
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