proximate cause


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Proximate Cause

An act from which an injury results as a natural, direct, uninterrupted consequence and without which the injury would not have occurred.

Proximate cause is the primary cause of an injury. It is not necessarily the closest cause in time or space nor the first event that sets in motion a sequence of events leading to an injury. Proximate cause produces particular, foreseeable consequences without the intervention of any independent or unforeseeable cause. It is also known as legal cause.

To help determine the proximate cause of an injury in Negligence or other tort cases, courts have devised the "but for" or "sine qua non" rule, which considers whether the injury would not have occurred but for the defendant's negligent act. A finding that an injury would not have occurred but for a defendant's act establishes that the particular act or omission is the proximate cause of the harm, but it does not necessarily establish liability since a variety of other factors can come into play in tort actions.

Some jurisdictions apply the "substantial factor" formula to determine proximate cause. This rule considers whether the defendant's conduct was a substantial factor in producing the harm. If the act was a substantial factor in bringing about the damage, then the defendant will be held liable unless she can raise a sufficient defense to rebut the claims.

proximate cause

n. a happening which results in an event, particularly injury due to negligence or an intentional wrongful act. In order to prevail (win) in a lawsuit for damages due to negligence or some other wrong, it is essential to claim (plead) proximate cause in the complaint and to prove in trial that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause (and not some other reason) of the damages to the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit). Sometimes there is an intervening cause which comes between the original negligence of the defendant and the injured plaintiff, which will either reduce the amount of responsibility or, if this intervening cause is the substantial reason for the injury, then the defendant will not be liable at all. In criminal law, the defendant's act must have been the proximate cause of the death of a victim to prove murder or manslaughter. (See: negligence, intervening cause)

proximate cause

noun causation, derivation, immediate legal basis, immediate legal cause, immediate legal genesis, proper cause, proximate causation, sufficient legal basis, sufficient legal causation, sufficient legal cause, sufficient legal factor, sufficient legal genesis, sufficient legal inducement, sufficient legal source
Associated concepts: contribution-efficient cause, contribuuory negligence, immediate cause, intervening cause, proximate consequence, proximate result
References in periodicals archive ?
Circuit in Empagran II, holding that "but for" causation is insufficient for the FTAIA and that a proximate cause standard must be applied, as it is the most consistent with principles of comity.
It concludes by proposing that instead of applying a proximate cause standard to victim losses which arise from the distribution and possession of pornographic images Congress should impose a limited statutory penalty against defendants to be paid directly to victims.
10) Investigating officers can conflate proximate cause with their earlier findings of responsibility, negligence or misconduct.
Cohen adds that Ohio case law has different standards for proximate cause, including that there can be more than one cause and, citing a 1957 Ohio Supreme Court ruling about a particularly complicated auto accident, that proximate cause exists if the injury wouldn't have taken place without a chain of events stemming from an initial misdeed.
Consequently, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant be cause the defendant did not breach its duty to provide a safe means of ingress and egress and the plaintiff failed to prove that the allegedly dangerous condition on the property was the proximate cause of his injuries.
The proximate cause theory holds felons accountable for any foreseeable deaths that occur during the commission or attempted commission of a felony.
Readers who wish to delve into the proximate causes of the road problem should read Block's book.
As such, employees bore the burden of convincing a jury by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer had a duty to the employee, breached the duty with ensuing harm, and that there was a proximate cause between the breach and the harm.
Courts tend to adhere to the principle that the voluntary consumption of alcohol is the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury, as opposed to transferring liability to the entity's that furnished the alcohol.
After all, the husband contracted a physical disease from exposure to asbestos, and that was the proximate cause of the lawsuit.
There is no clear proximate cause for Schwarzenegger's abysmal poll ratings, as there was for the plunge in approval of Davis.
2005), the proximate cause of mercury alkylation in oral microbial communities--which occurs in dental plaque--appears to be associated with the presence of some bacteria.