147 So.2d 646 (La. 1962).

Husband was a passenger in a car that was destroyed when it pulled in front of a train.  Husband was killed.

In the lawsuit brought by wife, the evidence showed that at the time of the collision, the train was negligently exceeding its speed limit.  However, there also was evidence that even if the train had been traveling at the concededly safe speed of 25 MPH, it still could not have stopped in time to avoid the collision.

The court held that Plaintiff’s evidence failed to show that Defendant’s negligence was the cause in fact of the collision.  The court reasoned:

It is fundamental that negligence is not actionable unless it is a cause in fact of the harm for which recovery is sought.  It need not, of course, be the sole cause. Negligence is a cause in fact of the harm to another if it was a substantial factor in bringing about that harm. Under the circumstances of the instant case, the excessive speed was undoubtedly a substantial factor in bringing about the collision if the collision would not have occurred without it. On the other hand, if the collision would have occurred irrespective of such negligence, then it was not a substantial factor.

Id. at 648.

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