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 ?
Swager, the court said it's a little more complicated, that you have to look at the various causes involved in an accident and figure out which one is the proximate cause. That involves this analysis of foreseeability, weighing societal interests and what society thinks from a liability standpoint who or who shouldn't be held liable for an accident," Desmond said.
that other doctrines, such as proximate cause, could limit the
However, it is a bit unsettled whether New York is following the efficient proximate cause test in determining whether to grant coverage.
The circuits that have addressed the matter since the decision in Empagran II have agreed that proximate cause is the proper standard.
A more important inquiry into causal connectivity is captured in the term "proximate cause," which is meant to prevent indeterminate hability.
conduct, it must be established that his conduct was a proximate cause
Editor's Note: The law is that a defendant, if responsible and liable because he or she has caused an injury to another for which he or she has been the direct and proximate cause, must accept the victim as he or she finds the victim.
These words are frustratingly familiar to any judge advocate faced with explaining the concept of "proximate cause" to IOs and commanders, who are often tempted to focus on negligence alone, and treat proximate causation as "obvious" or ignore it altogether.
[T]he Government is conflating the proximate cause requirement with the requirement that the victim be harmed as a result of [the defendant's] conduct.
The significance of fossils from the evolutionary point of view is crucial, which may provide solid information about clue of change in climate and proximate cause of its extinction.
"Holmes is the seminal United States Supreme Court decision that discusses the directness requirement, and the Ohio Supreme Court has adopted the Holmes Court's proximate cause analysis," Suhrheinrich wrote.
The hospital claimed that the 9-minute delay in detecting the loss of fetal heart tone and seeking the OB's intervention was not the proximate cause of the child's handicaps.