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Jane T (LLC)
Jane T (LLC), Former straight A Student - Now Mom
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In a lawsuit, if the plaintiff is successful in proving that

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In a lawsuit, if the plaintiff is successful in proving that the defendant’s negligence was the actual cause of injury, the plaintiff must also show that the defendant proximately caused the injury. This is called proximate cause; it is also referred to as legal cause. What is the gist of proximate cause? Why do courts struggle with this concept? Using the SUO library, locate the excerpt from the Wisconsin Lawyer, Volume 73, No. 2, February 2000 to help you understand some of the issues of proximate cause. In addition to reading the article, perform additional research to help you better understand the issues related to proximate cause. Then, discuss with your classmates.

Jane T (LLC) :

Hi, I have not read the article, but I can tell you that cause in the tort of negligence involves both actual cause (often called the "but for" or direct cause) and proximate cause. Proximate cause can be thought of as the thing that links the defendant and his or her actions or lack of actions to the injury suffered by the plaintiff. Not only must the defendant have been the one who took a negligent action (this is the "but for" part of cause) but that action must be the one that is directly linked to the injury (which is what the proximate cause is supposed to get at). For example, lets say a defendant shoots a gun in a family neighborhood. A bullet, from that gun then lodges itself in the road and, five seconds later, a driver rolls over that bullet and, has a flat tire that causes that person to crash into a tree and suffer an injury. Clearly, the direct cause of the crash is the bullet which flattened the tire. BUT is it the proximate cause? The proximate cause is only found to exist where an action leads to something that is foreseeable at the time the action occurs. Lets say first that bullets have round edges and, even when they lodge into the ground, do not have sharp edges that are believed to cut into rubber. Using that reasoning, then a flat tire caused by the bullet would not be a foreseeable consequence of firing a gun in a neighborhood, As a result, then the gun shooter would not be negligent in the injury the driver suffered. But, another neighbor hears the gun shot and the sound causes his post traumatic stress disorder to rise up and he injures himself while running out of his house in utter fear for his life. In that case, the gun shot is the direct cause of the injury, as it was the thing that caused the person to want to run out of his house AND it is the proximate cause as it is foreseeable that a person would hear a gun shot and be afraid for his life and want to run away from the sound. It is the matter of foreseeability then that determines whether something is the proximate cause of an injury and that must be proven before a defendant can be held negligent.


I appreciate any help you can give. I can work on the part regarding the article.

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