Proximate Cause in Tort Cases

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One of the main elements of a tort (i.e. personal injury) case is "proximate cause". Essentially, it is necessary for a plaintiff to prove a causal relationship between the other parties negligence and the plaintiff's injuries. The causal link must be sufficiently established in order to prove the defendant's liability. The plaintiff must show that but for the defendant's negligence, the accident would not have happened.

Often in car crash cases, for example, people have delays in seeking medical treatment or there are gaps in the treatment regimen. Defendants can then argue about whether there was proximate cause between the accident and the injury. The proximity can include spatial proximity or temporal proximity. Defendants sometimes allege intervening causes.

In law school, we studied a series of cases where unlikely chains of events occurred. The commentaries of the judges was often erudite and enlightening. The discussions of modern cases can often be intense as well.

The concept of "proximate cause" is therefore important in personal injury cases. If you have been injured due to somebody else's negligence or intent, it is important for you to mitigate your damages by seeking professional health care in a timely manner and following your doctor's orders. The dedicated personnel in the health care professions do a good job of helping people's injuries to heal. Then we lawyers can work towards curing the financial difficulties.

Best wishes,

Robert D. Kelly

Additional Resources

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximate_cause

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