Plaintiff's theory, of course, is that defendant's antecedent negligence caused plaintiff to be in the situation which [58 Cal. Not only was the victim directly injured by the defendant’s actions (no third party involved), but his act of walking across the street 90 feet from a crosswalk, and while intoxicated, occurred before, or perhaps concurrently with, the defendant’s negligent act of driving under the influence. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. Quinn files a civil lawsuit against Brenda because she ran the stop sign and hit him. Professors throw these terms around as if they are household words. The answer is probably no because the intervening action was (or should have been) reasonably foreseeable to the homeowner. In 2007, a power outage occurred in a Maryland neighborhood, leaving residents in the dark. In this situation, a horse kept in a damaged corral is quite likely to escape, or to be injured. Further, the court explained that, in order for an act to be considered a superseding cause, it must be the act of someone or something other than the original actor and the victim. For instance, a house fire is a foreseeable consequence of allowing a young child to play with matches. 3d 664] exposed him to the peril of Shelton's action, and thus, plaintiff contends, defendant's negligence was also a "cause" of the injury. An intervening cause is any event in an accident that occurred after the actions of the defendant (i.e. Remember that proximate cause requires conduct “unbroken by any superseding cause.” A superseding, or intervening, cause only breaks the chain of causation if it was unforeseeable. Intervening and superseding causes—which occur when the action of a third party, or even an act of nature, play a role in causing the plaintiff’s injury—disrupt this so-called "causal chain" and can diminish or even wipe out the defendant's liability, which means intervening and superseding causes can reduce or eliminate your ability to get fair compensation ("damages") for your injuries. It is different, however, in that the subsequent event is something that could not be foreseen as a consequence. Mary escapes Henry and hides in an abandoned shed. For example: Manny agrees to keep Ron’s horse in his corral for a week while Ron moves. In contrast to an intervening cause, which does not relieve the original defendant of liability, a superseding cause usually does relieve the original defendant of liability. She appealed the conviction on a number of grounds, one of which was failure of the judge to instruct the jury properly regarding superseding and intervening cause. As an example of a superseding cause, consider this alternative sequence of events: Manny puts Ron’s horse into his damaged corral, then retires for the evening. Let’s say that a homeowner digs a hole into a sidewalk and negligently leaves it open without any warning to pedestrians. Change the example so that Henry pulls out a knife and chases Mary out of the garage. The superseding intervening cause defense is one of the few defenses in Minnesota workers’ compensation law that can result in a complete bar to all benefits claimed that are attributable to the superseding event. Superseding cause might be thought of as being a step above intervening cause. The bus passenger who got hit sues the bus company for failing to provide a safe place for passengers to disembark. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. The companies claimed that all of these events amounted to superseding causes that should absolve them of liability. During the night a storm arises, and hurricane-force winds pick up an empty refrigerator in the neighbor’s yard, and hurls it at the horse, striking him, and forcing him into the damaged section of the fence. A superseding cause sufficient to become the proximate cause of the final result and relieve defendant of liability for his original negligence, arises only when an intervening force was unforeseeable and may be described, with the benefit of hindsight, as extraordinary. In this example, the superseding cause was the tow truck running into the already damaged vehicle. The appellate court was tasked with determining whether any of the intervening causes rose to the level of superseding cause, thus absolving the defendants of liability, supporting their dismissals from the lawsuit. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Example of an Intervening Superseding Cause. In these jurisdictions intervening cause describes any cause that comes between a defendant's conduct and the resulting injury, and an intervening cause that relieves a defendant of liability is called a superseding cause. One of the children picks … A defendant's superseding intervening cause argument was characterized by that court as "nothing more than an improper attempt to inject comparative negligence principles into this strict product liability action." This has an effect on who should be held liable for the damages caused by the accident. Like an intervening cause, a superseding cause occurs between the defendant’s action and the plaintiff’s injury, and it is also responsible for the injury. The term superseding cause refers to some event that occurs after the initial act that caused an accident, or some other injury. Some jurisdictions use two terms to define the intervening cause doctrine: intervening cause and superseding cause. 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