Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Proximate Cause (Tort law) definition and meaning

Rule: Proximate Cause

To impose liability in Tort, the law requires a reasonably close causal connection between the defendant's breach of duty and the injury that resulted. The causation must be more than a simple factual cause of plaintiff's injury. In other words, there must be a close causal connection between the defendant's tortious conduct and the injury of the plaintiff.

Majority Rule

The defendant is liable only for that harm that was a foreseeable consequence of his unreasonable act. Liability under the majority rule is limited to the harm that a reasonable person using ordinary care under the circumstances would have anticipated as a proximate consequence of his/her act.

Minority Rule

Once the defendant has been found negligent, he/she is liable for any harm that follows in an unbroken sequence, without an intervening agent, from that act which was negligent.

Foreseeability Test

The defendant will be held liable for all of the consequences of his/her negligent act as well as the acts of a third party if the defendant should have reasonably foreseen that his/her negligence would be followed by the negligence of a third party.

For a defendant to be liable in a negligence action, his or her conduct must have created an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R., 248 N.Y. 339 (1928).

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