Proximate cause relationship definition essay

This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. Examples of material facts needed to be disclosed in relation to The proximate cause was held to be the theft itself (an insured peril) and not the. of proximate cause or to further in any way the illusion that there is a generally recognized . reprinted in Selected Essays on the Law of Torts, d seq. Negligence soon became a dominant concept in the law, the meaning . Edgerton, Negligence, Inadvertence and Indifference: The Relation of Mental States to Neg-. Causation is the "causal relationship between the defendant's conduct and end result". In other . In the United States, this is known as the doctrine of proximate cause. The most important doctrine is that of novus actus interveniens, which.

Reischer v Borwick 2 QBCA A tug called Rosa insured with the defendants only against collision with any object including ice. In her voyage along the River Danub, She collided with a floating snag, causing damage to her machinery and a hole in the cover of the condenser, which allowed water to enter the tug. She was then anchored and by temporary measures the hole was 3 Ibid.

Finally Rosa was beached and abandoned. The insured claimed damages for the total loss of the tug but the underwriters only paid for the damage from the snag and denied greater liability.

At first instance, judgment was given the insured for the whole amount claimed, so the underwriters appealed. The court of appeal upheld the decision of the trial judge and ruled in favor of the insured, holding that the collision was the efficient and predominant cause of the loss of Rossa. Lopes LJ in his judgment truly stated: In cases of marine insurance, it is well settled law that it is only the proximate cause that is to be regarded and all others rejected, although the loss would not have happened without them.

Damage received in collisions must, therefore, in this case be proximate cause of the loss to entitle the plaintiff to recover. The damage received in the collision was the broken condenser, and it was the broken condenser which really caused the proximate loss. The tug was continuously in danger from the time condenser was broken, and the broken condenser never ceased to be an imminent element of danger, though the danger was mitigated for a time by the insertion of the plug in the outside of the vessel.

Causation (law)

The cause of the damage to the condenser was the collision and the consequences of the collision-that is, the broken condenser- never ceased to exist, but constantly remained the efficient and predominant peril to which the damage now sought to be recovered was attributable. Ikaria was torpedoed by a hostile submarine while awaiting a pilot outside Le Havre off the French coast. Two large holes were made in her hull and No. She nevertheless managed to reach the port of Le Havre, and she would have been saved if she had been allowed to remain there.

But a gale caused the Ikaria to bump against the quay and the authorities fearing she would sink and block the quay, ordered her to move to the outer harbour, near the breakwater.

In the outer harbour because of the weather conditions and the fact that she was down by the head as a result of the torpedo damage, she grounded at each low tide and, eventually, sank and became a total loss. The assured contended that only the cause last in time could be regarded as proximate, thus the loss was caused by perils of the seas.

But the underwriters refused liability and argued that the proximate cause of loss was torpedo and therefore within the F C and S clause of the policy. The House of Lords, in endorsing the decision of both the lower courts, ruled that the loss was not due to perils of the seas and the torpedoing was the proximate cause of the loss.

The House of Lords unanimously rejected the last in time approach to proximity of causation. Lord Shaw of Dunfermline in his judgment with a prefect wording observed that: The true and overruling principle is to look at a contract as a whole and to ascertain what the parties really meant. What was it, which brought about the loss, the event, the calamity, the accident?

And this is not in an artificial sense, but in a real sense which parties to a contract must have had in their minds when they spoke of cause at all. To treat proxima causa as the cause which is nearest in time is out of question. The chain of causation is a handy expression, but the figure is inadequate.

Causation is not a chain, but a net. At each point influences, forces, events, precedent and simultaneous meet; and the radiation from each point extend infinitely. At the point where these various influences meet it is for the judgment as upon a matter of fact to declare which of the causes thus joined at the point of effect was the proximate and which was the remote cause. What does proximate here mean?

To treat the proximate cause as if it was the cause which is proximate in time is, as I have said, out of question. The cause which is, truly proximate is that which is proximate in efficiency. That efficiency may have been preserved although other causes may in the meantime have sprung up which have yet not destroyed it, or truly impaired it, and it may culminate in a result which it still remains the real efficient cause to which the event can be ascribed.

Proximate cause is an expression referring to the efficiency as an operating factor upon the result. Where various factors or causes are concurrent, and one has to be selected, the matter is determined as one of fact, and the choice falls upon the one to which may be ascribed the qualities of reality, predominance, efficiency. It does not matter if the loss is inevitable from the event causing the loss. It can also 7 Ibid. Therefore, we must look at the whole web of events in an attempt to find the real and efficient cause, which leads naturally and reasonably to the loss.

Applications of Proximate Cause There are two different consequences of proximate cause doctrine for the insurers and assureds.

Firstly it narrows the insurers liability to only loss proximately caused by insured perils, and secondly to the contrary, it widens the underwriter's liability with regards to the remoter causes, contributed by certain circumstances or conduct without which, such an event would not have happened.

The court must simply determine whether that particular cause of loss is, or is not, an insured risk under the policy. The situation even worsens when those causes appear to be equally influential. Two or More Proximate Cause of Loss It often happens that more than one cause has led to a loss or damage. The causes may operate successively, or simultaneously, separately or in combination. In this section we will discuss how to apply proximate cause doctrine when there is two or more proximate cause of loss by studying three different cases.

Heskell v Continental Express and Another [] 1 All ER An export that in this case is plaintiff sold three bales of poplin to a Persian buyer and instructed Continental Express to forward the bales to the vessel Mount Orford Park. Continental Express negligently did not forward the goods. Strick Line Ltd, the charterer of Mount Orford Park, allocated space for the bales of poplin in the vessel, by mistake, issued a bill of lading for the goods that were never actually received.

The ship arrived in Persian Gulf without the goods and it was discovered that the goods had never been 9 Arnould's Law of Marine Insurance and Average, at p. The plaintiff after he had made recompense to the buyer, claimed against the two company, Continental Express and Strick Line Ltd. The court ruled that the issuing of bill of lading by Strick Line Ltd was a misstatement but since there was no contractual relationship between the plaintiff and Strike Line Ltd the plaintiff could not recover from them.

However, damages were awarded against Continental Express for a breach of contract. This case shows a situation, which there is two proximate cause of loss of equal efficiency, one cause is the initial breach of contract and the other, an intervening act by another party.

The court was faced with the problem that the intervening act of the issuing of the bill of lading, and the initial failure of Continental Express to forward the goods to the ship, were equally operative cause of the loss. Judge Devlin observed that: There are many cases where a loss is foreseeable, but does not in fact occur, because some act intervenes, as piece of good fortune for the wrongdoer, to prevent the natural and probable consequences of his wrong from operating.

Likewise the intervening act, while not destroying the wrong as a causative event, may contribute to the damage that occurs; the damage is then caused both by the wrong and by the intervening act. That is, I think what happened here. The plaintiff claimed on his policy of insurance but the insurer refused to pay arguing that the yacht was unseaworthy due to defective design which make the manufacturers liable and not the insurers.

The court of appeal held that a combination of adverse weather and defective design was the cause of damage.

Causation (law) - Wikipedia

Both were effective and concurrent causes of the loss. In this case there were two proximate cause of loss: The court ruled that: If the defects in design and construction had been the sole cause of the loss, then 11 [] 1 All ERat p On the facts, as the judge found, the unseaworthiness due to design defects was not the sole cause of the loss.

However, the causal contribution is not of the same level and, incidentally, this provides some basis for treating principals and accomplices differently under criminal law. Leon Green and Jane Stapleton are two scholars who take the opposite view. They consider that once something is a "but for" Green or NESS Stapleton condition, that ends the factual inquiry altogether, and anything further is a question of policy.

Establishing legal causation[ edit ] Notwithstanding the fact that causation may be established in the above situations, the law often intervenes and says that it will nevertheless not hold the defendant liable because in the circumstances the defendant is not to be understood, in a legal sense, as having caused the loss. In the United States, this is known as the doctrine of proximate cause. Proximate cause The but-for test is factual causation and often gives us the right answer to causal problems, but sometimes not.

Two difficulties are immediately obvious. The first is that under the but-for test, almost anything is a cause. But for a tortfeasor's grandmother's birth, the relevant tortious conduct would not have occurred. But for the victim of a crime missing the bushe or she would not have been at the site of the crime and hence the crime would not have occurred. Yet in these two cases, the grandmother's birth or the victim's missing the bus are not intuitively causes of the resulting harm.

Proximate Causation - Negligence

This often does not matter in the case where cause is only one element of liability, as the remote actor will most likely not have committed the other elements of the test. The legally liable cause is the one closest to or most proximate to the injury. This is known as the Proximate Cause rule.

However, this situation can arise in strict liability situations. Intervening cause[ edit ] Imagine the following. A critically injures B. As B is wheeled to an ambulance, she is struck by lightning. She would not have been struck if she had not been injured in the first place.

The effect of the principle may be stated simply: But if the new act breaks the chain, the liability of the initial actor stops at that point, and the new actor, if human, will be liable for all that flows from his or her contribution. Note, however, that this does not apply if the Eggshell skull rule is used.

For example, where negligent firestarter A's fire joins with negligent firestarter B's fire to burn down House C, both A and B are held responsible. This is an element of Legal Cause. Tice Rule[ edit ] The other problem is that of overdetermination.

Imagine two hunters, A and B, who each negligently fire a shot that takes out C's eye. Each shot on its own would have been sufficient to cause the damage. But for A's shot, would C's eye have been taken out? The same answer follows in relation to B's shot. But on the but-for test, this leads us to the counterintuitive position that neither shot caused the injury. However, courts have held that in order to prevent each of the defendants avoiding liability for lack of actual cause, it is necessary to hold both of them responsible, See Summers v.

Tice33 Cal. This is known, simply, as the Summers v. Concurrent actual causes[ edit ] Suppose that two actors' negligent acts combine to produce one set of damages, where but for either of their negligent acts, no damage would have occurred at all. This is two negligences contributing to a single cause, as distinguished from two separate negligences contributing to two successive or separate causes.

These are "concurrent actual causes". In such cases, courts have held both defendants liable for their negligent acts. A leaves truck parked in the middle of the road at night with its lights off. B fails to notice it in time and plows into it, where it could have been avoided, except for want of negligence, causing damage to both vehicles.

Both parties were negligent. Foreseeability[ edit ] Legal Causation is usually expressed as a question of 'foreseeability'. An actor is liable for the foreseeable, but not the unforeseeable, consequences of his or her act. For example, it is foreseeable that if I shoot someone on a beach and they are immobilized, they may drown in a rising tide rather than from the trauma of the gunshot wound or from loss of blood.

However it is not generally speaking foreseeable that they will be struck by lightning and killed by that event. This type of causal foreseeability is to be distinguished from foreseeability of extent or kind of injury, which is a question of remoteness of damage, not causation. For example, if I conduct welding work on a dock that lights an oil slick that destroys a ship a long way down the river, it would be hard to construe my negligence as anything other than causal of the ship's damage.

There is no novus actus interveniens. However, I may not be held liable if that damage is not of a type foreseeable as arising from my negligence. If Neal punched Matt in the jaw, it is foreseeable that Matt will suffer a bodily injury that he will need to go to the hospital for. Other relevant considerations[ edit ] Because causation in the law is a complex amalgam of fact and policy, other doctrines are also important, such as foreseeability and risk.

Particularly in the United States, where the doctrine of 'proximate cause' effectively amalgamates the two-stage factual then legal causation inquiry favoured in the English system, one must always be alert to these considerations in assessing the postulated relationship between two events. Foreseeability tests[ edit ] Some aspects of the physical world are so inevitable that it is always reasonable to impute knowledge of their incidence.

So if A abandons B on a beach, A must be taken to foresee that the tide comes in and goes out.

Proximate Cause Doctrine in Marine Insurance Law | Amir Tayari -

But the mere fact that B subsequently drowns is not enough. A court would have to consider where the body was left and what level of injury A believed that B had suffered. If B was left in a position that any reasonable person would consider safe but a storm surge caused extensive flooding throughout the area, this might be a novus actus. That B was further injured by an event within a foreseen class does not of itself require a court to hold that every incident falling within that class is a natural link in the chain.

Only those causes that are reasonably foreseeable fit naturally into the chain. So if A had heard a weather forecast predicting a storm, the drowning will be a natural outcome. But if this was an event like a flash floodan entirely unpredictable event, it will be a novus actus. The question of A's beliefs is no different.

If A honestly believes that B is only slightly injured and so could move himself out of danger without difficulty, how fair is it to say that he ought to have foreseen? The test is what the reasonable person would have known and foreseen, given what A had done. It is the function of any court to evaluate behaviour. A defendant cannot evade responsibility through a form of wilful blindness.

Fault lies not only in what a person actually believes, but also in failing to understand what the vast majority of other people would have understood. Hence, the test is hybrid, looking both at what the defendant actually knew and foresaw i. So if, for example, the plaintiff unexpectedly contributed to the extent of the loss suffered, that additional element would not be included in the damages award even though the plaintiff would not have had the opportunity to make this mistake had it not been for the defendant's breach.

In cases involving the partitioning of damages between multiple defendants, each will be liable to the extent that their contribution foreseeably produced the loss. Risk[ edit ] Sometimes the reverse situation to a novus actus occurs, i. Abbott Laboratories, P. The manufacturer of the particular medication that caused the injury could not be ascertained for certain. The defendant was held liable because of the amount of risk it contributed to the occasioning of the harm.

However, it does show that legal notions of causation are a complex mixture of factual causes and ideas of public policy relating to the availability of legal remedies. In R v Miller [] UKHL 6, the House of Lords said that a person who puts a person in a dangerous position, in that case a fire, will be criminally liable if he does not adequately rectify the situation. Evidence proving causation[ edit ] To be acceptable, any rule of law must be capable of being applied consistently, thus a definition of the criteria for this qualitative analysis must be supplied.

Let us assume a purely factual analysis as a starting point. A injures B and leaves him lying in the road. C is a driver who fails to see B on the road and by running over him, contributes to the cause of his death.

It would be possible to ask for a detailed medical evaluation at a post mortem to determine the initial degree of injury and the extent to which B's life was threatened, followed by a second set of injuries from the collision and their contribution. If the first incident merely damaged B's leg so that he could not move, it is tempting to assert that C's driving must have been the more substantial cause and so represents a novus actus breaking the chain.

Equally, if B was bleeding to death and the only contribution that the driving made was to break B's arm, the driving is not a novus actus and does not break the chain.