But proximate cause is still met if a thrown baseball misses the target and knocks a heavy object off a shelf behind them, which causes a blunt-force injury. These events are uninterrupted by superseding causes. Medical Definition of proximate cause : a cause that directly or with no intervening agency produces an effect whether the negligence was the proximate cause of the pneumonia — Journal of the American Medical Association Learn More about proximate cause The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's action increased the risk that the particular harm suffered by the plaintiff would occur. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. If the evidence later shows that the wind blew off a building's roof and then water damage resulted only because there was no roof to prevent rain from entering, there would be coverage, but if the building was simultaneously flooded (i.e., because the rain caused a nearby body of water to rise or simply overwhelmed local sewers), an ACC clause would completely block coverage for the entire loss (even if the building owner could otherwise attribute damage to wind v. flood). Generally, proximate cause refers to actions that are reasonably foreseeable to lead to the injuries suffered by a plaintiff. In their intoxicated state, the driver swerves and sideswipes the car. Below, we break down the most commonly asked questions about proximate cause and explain how it may impact your case. Therefore, if they were hurt by it, the proximate cause would be negligible. The person accused of causing the injury is known as the defendant. The classic example is that of a father who gives his child a loaded gun, which she carelessly drops upon the plaintiff's foot, causing injury. Please don’t The causes that are merely incidental or instruments of a superior or controlling agency are not the proximate causes and the responsible ones, though they may be nearer in time to the result. However, when one party’s negligence is a substantial factor in causing injury, the defendant is liable regardless of additional factors. 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’. That is the proximate cause. “Cause in fact” is a legal term that means actual cause. If a fender-bender happens in the southbound lane, the distracted driver cannot be found liable because their actions didn’t contribute to the accident. Many insurers have attempted to contract around efficient proximate cause through the use of "anti-concurrent causation" (ACC) clauses, under which if a covered cause and a noncovered cause join together to cause a loss, the loss is not covered. The formal Latin term for "but for" (cause-in-fact) causation, is sine qua non causation.. If you fail to yield at a stop sign, you cannot fully blame another driver for hitting you. This information is not intended to create, and receipt A proximate cause implies that harm was predictable by a reasonable person. Here, the “but for” rule does not apply—if the truck driving north didn’t run the red light, the driver still would have been hit by the motorcycle going south. This is also called foreseeable risk. Proximate cause produces particular, foreseeable consequences without the intervention of any independent or unforeseeable cause. The event would not have occurred but for the cause. , For the notion of proximate cause in other disciplines, see, event deemed by law to be the effective cause of an injury, In re Arbitration Between Polemis and Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd., 3 K.B. Proximate cause is the primary cause of the injury, but it does not mean that it is the only cause or even the “closest” cause to the accident. Cause-in-fact is determined by the "but for" test: But for the action, the result would not have happened. It begins with a special note explaining the Institute's decision to reframe the concept in terms of "scope of liability" because it does not involve true causation, and to also include "proximate cause" in the chapter title in parentheses to help judges and lawyers understand the connection between the old and new terminology. Although many actual causes can exist for an injury (e.g., a pregnancy that led to the defendant's birth), the law does not attach liability to all the actors responsible for those causes. Proximate Cause. Referred to by the Reporters of the Second and Third Restatements of the Law of Torts as the "scope-of-the-risk" test, the term "Risk Rule" was coined by the University of Texas School of Law's Dean Robert Keeton. Example: Why did the ship sink? Here’s where we unpack what you need to know about proximate cause, and how the insurance company will look at all the factors that might have contributed your injury. contact us if you have any questions! For example, if a large tree branch suddenly fell onto the road and a driver hit another vehicle while trying to avoid it, the defendant’s liability would be negligible. 2005) and John C. P. Goldberg, Anthony J. Sebok, and Benjamin C. Zipursky, Tort Law: Responsibilities and Redress (2004) among others. The actual cause is a straightforward explanation of what caused the accident. Negligence means the defendant failed to take reasonable care or perform as a reasonable person would, resulting in damage. For example, imagine an SUV sideswipes a car and injures the driver. It refers to the foreseeability of that injury taking place. As they cross an intersection, they are struck by two vehicles: a truck traveling north who ran a red light and a motorcycle traveling south who also ran the red light. This would be a clear-cut proximate cause. 4. For instance, a reasonable person would assume that running a stoplight or tailgating another motorist could cause harm. Proximate cause is also known as proximate causation. The first element of the test is met if the injured person was a member of a class of people who could be expected to be put at risk of injury by the action.  It does not matter how foreseeable the result as long as what the negligent party's physical activity can be tied to what actually happened. The plaintiff argues that it is negligent to give a child a loaded gun and that such negligence caused the injury, but this argument fails, for the injury did not result from the risk that made the conduct negligent. The main thrust of direct causation is that there are no intervening causes between an act and the resulting harm. To prove liability in an Arizona personal injury case, a personal injury lawyer must establish the defendant was negligent. , For example, in the two famous Kinsman Transit cases from the 2nd Circuit (exercising admiralty jurisdiction over a New York incident), it was clear that mooring a boat improperly could lead to the risk of that boat drifting away and crashing into another boat, and that both boats could crash into a bridge, which collapsed and blocked the river, and in turn, the wreckage could flood the land adjacent to the river, as well as prevent any traffic from traversing the river until it had been cleared. The trash burning is the proximate cause … In the case of running a red light or tailgating, the defendant would be found liable even if they misjudged their behavior as not harmful. Now, consider that same example, but this time, let’s say the SUV driver is drunk.  The rule is that “[a]n actor’s liability is limited to those physical harms that result from the risks that made the actor’s conduct tortious.” Thus, the operative question is "what were the particular risks that made an actor's conduct negligent?" Did You Know? Learn more. But even if you’re geared with a legal definition of proximate cause, it doesn’t make understanding this complex Arizona law any easier. ‘So, its causal relationship with the primary negligence is very proximate and most immediate, in our submission.’. In this case, Tim’s actions are the proximate cause of Jill’s injuries. 1247, 1253 (2009). In this case, the driver’s intoxication is the proximate cause of the accident. Several competing theories of proximate cause of damage to it ’ walk in an accident isn t. Jurisdictions where property insurance does not constitute, an Arizona court can decide if multiple individuals as the cause... 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