Proximate Causation Clarification

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ok2bedifferent

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Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:30 pm

Proximate Causation Clarification

Postby ok2bedifferent » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:53 am

Hi - I am having some difficult understanding proximate causation. I took torts near 8 years ago and am only now getting around to taking the bar, so I apologize if this sounds very elementary. I tend to understand things better through flowcharts, so here goes (assuming there has been a ready of duty):

Q1: Was the harm was foreseeable?
If yes, was D's action a direct cause? Go to Q2.
If no, D not liable.

Q2: Was D's action's a direct cause of P's harm?
If yes, D liable.
If no, go to Q3.

Q3: Was there an intervening cause?
If yes, go to Q4.
If no, D not liable.

Q4: Was the intervening cause foreseeable?
If yes, D liable.
If no, D not liable.

Am I understanding this correctly? Obviously, the other elements of negligence need to be satisfied as well, but just want to make sure I understand proximate causation as I should.

Catsinthebag

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Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:14 pm

Re: Proximate Causation Clarification

Postby Catsinthebag » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:04 am

ok2bedifferent wrote:Hi - I am having some difficult understanding proximate causation. I took torts near 8 years ago and am only now getting around to taking the bar, so I apologize if this sounds very elementary. I tend to understand things better through flowcharts, so here goes (assuming there has been a ready of duty):

Q1: Was the harm was foreseeable?
If yes, was D's action a direct cause? Go to Q2.
If no, D not liable.

Q2: Was D's action's a direct cause of P's harm?
If yes, D liable.
If no, go to Q3.

Q3: Was there an intervening cause?
If yes, go to Q4.
If no, D not liable.

Q4: Was the intervening cause foreseeable?
If yes, D liable.
If no, D not liable.

Am I understanding this correctly? Obviously, the other elements of negligence need to be satisfied as well, but just want to make sure I understand proximate causation as I should.


You've basically got it, but it's not so cut-and-dry around Q3 & 4. There is also the possibility of concurrent causes, for example, and the standard isn't foreseeable, rather it is reasonably foreseeable (or foreseeable to a reasonable person). Also, note the four jurisdictions where there could be contributory negligence. But for being 8 years out, quite nice!



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