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Proximate Cause — (1) The cause having the most significant impact in bringing about the loss under a first-party property insurance policy, when two or more independent perils operate at the same time (i.e., concurrently) to produce a loss. The name given to the direct cause of an accident or incident leading to injury, is referred to as ‘proximate’. The term proximate has long been known to mean near, or in the vicinity of, not actual. Another consideration the courts take is the foreseeability of harm. Actual cause, also known as cause in fact, is straightforward. The injury is the direct result of the proximate cause without which the injury would not exist. The “Substantial Factor” Rule. (a) … If you need help with a proximate cause case, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. No need to spend hours finding a lawyer, post a job and get custom quotes from experienced lawyers instantly. Instead, it is an action that produced foreseeable consequences without intervention from anyone else. In the law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held to be the cause of that injury. The proximate cause of the wing color in the peppered moth is genetic. Some states have tort law, meaning injury case rules, that include the “substantial factor” test for proximate cause. Cause-in-fact is determined by the "but for" test: But for the action, the result would not have happened. A specific gene codes for whether they have light or dark-colored wings. There are several competing theories of proximate cause (see Other factors). You can use one of these methods to support your argument about who caused your injuries. A distracted driver crashes into a truck carrying explosives causing the explosives to explode and kill the truck driver. The idea of foreseeability being the test for proximate cause in negligence cases was established in the landmark case Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. In the law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held to be the cause of that injury. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. This means understanding if the injury would occur but for the action or lapse of the defendant. For example, if a distracted driver strikes another vehicle and causes those occupants to suffer injuries, but for that driver operating intoxicated, the crash would not have happened. Although the harm to the child and the damage to the bicycle may be within the scope of the harm that the defendant risked by his actions, the defendant probably could not have foreseen that the father and son would be injured three days later on their way to having the bicycle repaired. Assume that when the child is struck with the bag of grain, the child’s bicycle on which he was riding is damaged. Proximate cause requires the plaintiff’s harm to be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s wrongful action. A real-life example took place in a 1910 case in the United Kingdom, where a man put poison in a glass of milk with the intent to kill his mother. Foreseeability is a personal injury law concept that is often used to determine proximate cause after an accident. His mother would have died "but for" her son's poisoning the milk, as it was the heart attack which caused her death. It requires one question to determine causation: But for the defendants' actions would the injury occur? It was reasonably foreseeable that the drunk driver would hit another car. The standard lawyer or judge feels in a case like Wagon Mound that there may be something too attenuated about the connection between the tortious conduct and the injury. On their way to the shop, the father and son are struck by another car. For instance, a house fire is a foreseeable consequence of allowing a young child to play with matches. A cause intervening between the defendant's negligence and the plaintiff's injury in such a way that it supersedes the effect of the defendant's negligence and is regarded as the sole proximate cause of the harm. It's an action that resulted in foreseeable consequences without anyone intervening. The scope of the problem with proximate cause lies in a few different areas, especially in its name. Some common questions focus on how a trait develops. The But For Test In a legal sense, the term proximate cause refers to a thing that happened to cause something else to occur. The injury is the direct result of the proximate cause without which the injury would not exist. Proximate cause relates to the scope of a defendant’s responsibility in a negligence case. A court uses the but for test to determine if there is factual causation, and the proximate cause test to determine if the cause of harm was proximate to the actus reus to be the legal cause of harm. What Does It Mean to Be Party to a Lawsuit? You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Scientists ask these sorts of questions and test them based on previous knowledge and future predictions. When the proximate cause isn’t evident, there are two tests states use. There are two kinds of causation in criminal cases: Sometimes factual causation is not enough for the plaintiff to win a case, and legal causation is also brought into consideration. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb. When determining if the requirement that the defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of injury to the plaintiff has been met, the finder of fact will examine two types of causation. For instance, in a personal injury case, the injured person has to show his injury was brought by the defendant's negligence or actions. A substantial factor contributes materially to the injury; the actions continue until the moment of injury. Proximate Cause Some courts have scrapped but-for cause altogether, and simply apply the doctrine of proximate cause. In the example described above, the child injured by the bag of grain would prove proximate cause by showing that the defendant could have foreseen the harm that would have resulted from the bag striking the child. It was held that the proximate cause of sinking of the ship was torpedo (Leyland shipping Co. … Share it with your network! Proximate Cause Rules After framing the claim as either a "chain of events," "sequential events," or "concurrent events" fact pattern, and after applying the "but for" test to make sure that all of the causes of loss can be legitimately included in the analytical framework, the next step is … Convenient, Affordable Legal Help - Because We Care. If a defendant has caused damages that are outside of the scope of the risks that the defendant could have foreseen, then the plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Proximate cause is a key principle of Insurance and is concerned with how the loss or damage actually occurred. Can I Sue for Breach of Contract and Negligence? This is known as the proximate cause. Proximate cause: P must also show that the injury is sufficiently closely related to D’s conduct that liability should attach. Proximate cause is the primary cause of an injury. This test is called proximate cause. An act from which an injury results as a natural, direct, uninterrupted consequence and without which the injury would not have occurred. Hire the top business lawyers and save up to 60% on legal fees. Proximate cause produces a consequences that is foreseeable, or even expected. A ship was severely torpedoed and was in the process of sinking. In California, courts follow the “substantial factor” test to determine proximate cause. In order to determine whether someone’s actions were the proximate cause of another’s damages, the courts apply what is know as the “but for” test. If an employee was … Proximate … It is not necessarily the closest cause in time or space nor the first event that sets … When the injury wouldn't have occurred but for the action on the defendant's part, … Proximate Causation: This sometimes difficult to grasp concept is actually very simple on most exams. Proximate cause relates to the scope of a defendant’s responsibility in a negligence case. The primary examples are: The substantial factor looks at anything that materially contributes to an injury. Hence, the father and son could not prove proximate causation. In order to prove negligence in court, the plaintiff has to prove the defendant's violation of duty was the actual and proximate cause of the injuries, including duty, breach of duty, and damages. When a bus strikes a car, the bus drivers actions are the actual cause of the accident. Be sure to check with your professor but if in doubt, use the following generally accepted test: A person’s actions are the proximate cause of another person’s injury when the wrongdoer’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the injury. His mother drank some milk and went to bed, to never wake up. There are states who follow the "but for" test to determine proximate cause. The court asks two questions to decide whether or not the defendant directly contributed to the plaintiff's injuries: It's important to determine proximate cause because not everyone who causes an injury is legally liable. Proximate cause has to be determined by the law as the primary cause of injury. The distractive driving is the substantial factor in the accident and these actions continue until the explosion. Proximate cause is a deliberate or careless act which causes someone else's injuries, pain, or damages. Given his drunk driving actions, it is foreseeable that he could cause injuries to someone. Proximate Cause & Foreseeability seeks to limit the scope of liability as are used to determine whether the conduct is negligent in the first place -as a general rule, only for those consequences of his negligence which were reasonably foreseeable This is known as the foreseeability test for proximate cause. 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