Cause in Fact - Explained
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What is Causation in Fact?
In a negligence action, the defendant's conduct must have caused the injury to the plaintiff. Causation in fact presents the question, but for the act of the defendant, would the injury have occurred?
Next Article: Defenses to Negligence Return to: TORT LAW
How to Show Causation in Fact?
Cause in Fact is the broadest aspect of causation, as any number of causes together could have contributed to the injury.
The jury must determine whether the defendants conduct is a substantial, material factor in bringing about the injury.
If there are multiple defendants, each individual defendant can be held jointly and severally liable for the collective actions of the group.
Can you think of a situation where an individual is a contributor to an outcome, but the outcome would have occurred regardless of the individuals involvement? Should a person be held liable if a particular damage would have occurred regardless of her involvement in a tortious activity? Why or why not?
Jessica and 5 friends are jumping up and down on a trampoline. Terry falls while bouncing, but the other friends continue to bounce. Terry is thrown from the trampoline by the force generated by the other bouncers. Is Jessica's conduct the cause in fact of Terry's injury?
- To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant caused the injury. Causation in tort uses a cause-in-fact test and a proximate cause text in order to establish a factual link between the conduct of the defendant and the injuries of the claimant. In a cause-in-fact test, the question asked is but for the defendant's actions, would the harm have occurred? If the answer to this question is no, then causation cannot be shown, and vice versa. In the example from the practice question, Jessica's action in the circumstances amounts to the cause in fact of Terry's injuries. This is because it is the action of Jessica and the others who continued jumping on the trampoline that caused Terry to be thrown off and be injured. The but for question in this situation is, but for Jessica's and the rest jumping, would Terry have been thrown off the trampoline and hence injured?. The answer is no. meaning that it was Jessica and the rest jumping that caused Terry to be injured.
- Tort Law (Intro)
- What are Torts?
- What are the types of torts?
- Assault and Battery?
- Intentional Infliction of Emotions Distress?
- Invasion of Privacy?
- False Imprisonment?
- Malicious Prosecution?
- Defamation and 1st Amendment Considerations?
- Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations?
- What is Negligence?
- Negligence A Duty of Care?
- Negligence Breach of Duty of Care?
- What are common defenses to negligence actions?
- What is Strict Liability?
- Strict Liability Causes of Action Examples
- Strict Products Liability
- What defenses exist to strict product liability actions?
- Compensatory damages?
- Punitive damages?
- Treble Damages