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Does proximate cause mean foresee-ability to the defendant or foresee-ability to a reasonable person?

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Does proximate cause mean foresee-ability to the defendant or foresee-ability to a reasonable person?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Neither. Proximate cause is the concept that describes the relationship between an error or omission and the damages alleged. The ability to foresee the consequences is an aspect of the alleged negligence of the defendant.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


  2. The way I learned negligence in torts is this: the elements required to prove negligence are duty (standard of care), breach of that duty, causation and damages. Causation has 2 subparts: the factual cause and the legal cause. Proximate cause is the legal cause, which basically refers to the relationship between the law to the facts. It is a tricky concept that is confusing for most law students. The last part of negligence is damages.


  3. Negligence requires duty, breach of duty, legal causation (also known as proximate cause) and damages.

    Not all causation is proximate causation. It must be reasonably foreseeable to the defendant.

    Do an internet search on Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Road. That is the leading case establishing the principle of proximate cause.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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