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Proximate Causation Outline

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This is an extract of our Proximate Causation document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of Oklahoma City University School Of Law students.

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Proximate Causation

1. Definitions/Comments But even when defendant's negligence was clearly a butfor cause of plaintiff's harm, the defendants negligence may not be the proximate cause of that harm.

Proximate Cause is the 2nd NECESSARY link in the chain of causation. W/O it, the causal chain is broken and the negligent defendant is not liable to the plaintiff even for the harm the defendant has actually caused.

At some point, the liability far exceeds the culpability.

2. Liability to Reasonably Foreseeable Consequences When an issue of proximate cause arises in a borderline case, we leave it to a jury with appropriate instructions.

It would be disproportionately burdensome to hold a culpable actor potentially liable for all the injurious consequences that may flow from his act.

Tests for Proximate Cause

Restatement 3rd SS29 (Liable for Harm within the Scope of Risk)
An actor's liability is limited to those physical harms that result from the risks that made the actor's conduct tortious.
The defendant should be held liable only for harm that was among the potential harms (the risks) that made the actor's conduct tortious. Foreseeability!!!
So look at a) the risks that made the actor's conduct tortious and b) whether the harm suffered was a result of any of those risks.
If the harms risked by the tortious conduct include the general sort of harm suffered by the plaintiff, the defendant is subject to liability for that harm. ( a delay which later caused an accident will not be proximate cause).

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