Personal Injury Law


What are the two types of causation in tort cases?

The two types of causation are actual or factual causation and proximate or legal causation. Actual cause refers to whether the defendant’s conduct was the actual, factual cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Take the example of a man with a sore leg who enters a department store and slips on the slick floor. The man claims that he injured his leg in his fall. However, the store may claim that his leg was injured already and the fall did not add to his condition at all.

The second type of causation is legal or proximate cause. This type of causation limits a defendant’s liability to the reasonably foreseeable injuries caused by his tortious conduct. In other words, let’s say a man falls in the department store. The man suffers a knee injury and has to be transported by an ambulance to a local hospital. However, a careless driver then pulls out in front of the ambulance driver and causes a bad accident that kills the man who is a passenger-patient in the ambulance. It is not reasonably foreseeable that a wet floor would lead to a patron being killed in an ambulance.


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