Dictionary of Law

intervening cause :: legal definition

Intervening cause - n. an event which occurs between the original improper or dangerous action and the damage itself. Thus, the "causal connection" between the wrong and damages is broken by the intervening cause. This is a "but for" situation, in which the intervention becomes the real reason harm resulted. The result is that the person who started the chain of events is no longer responsible and will not be found liable for damages to the injured person. Example: Fred Flameout negligently starts a wildfire by welding on his hay bailer next to a row of haystacks, some hay catches fire, and the fire spreads, heading toward the next-door ranch. However, just as the county fire department has the fire nearly contained, Peter Petrol drives his oil truck through the fireline against a fire fighter's orders and stops on the road between Flameout's property and Richard Rancher's. Sparks from the fire cause Petrol's truck to explode, sending the fire on the way to Rancher's barns and home, which burn down. Petrol's negligence is an intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook. Sometimes this is called supervening cause or superseding.

See also: cause negligence superseding cause and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

care :: n. in law, to be attentive, prudent and vigilant. ... she is involved. See also: careless
cause of action :: n. the basis of a lawsuit founded on legal grounds ... property. See also: element lawsuit
comparative negligence :: n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to dete ... utory negligence damages negligence
contributory negligence :: n. a doctrine of common law that if a person was i ... : comparative negligence negligence
damages :: n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the pers ... liquidated damages special damages
dangerous :: adj. unsafe, hazardous, fraught with risk. It can ... eapon's range. See also: negligence
direct and proximate cause :: n. the immediate reason damage was caused by an ac ... so: cause complaint proximate cause
disfigure :: v. to cause permanent change in a person's body, p ... . See also: damages general damages
gross negligence :: n. carelessness which is in reckless disregard for ... damages negligence punitive damages
impute :: v. 1) to attach to a person responsibility (and th ... also. See also: vicarious liability
injury :: n. any harm done to a person by the acts or omissi ... nction injunctive relief negligence
joint tortfeasors :: n. two or more persons whose negligence in a singl ... : comparative negligence negligence
last clear chance :: n. a rule of law in determining responsibility for ... contributory negligence negligence
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
long-arm statute :: n. law which gives a local state court jurisdictio ... rt jurisdiction over the defendant.
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
nuisance :: n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful u ... evening). See also: public nuisance
property damage :: n. injury to real or personal property through ano ... l value. See also: damages property
proximate cause :: n. a happening which results in an event, particul ... also: intervening cause negligence
res ipsa loquitur :: (rayz ip-sah loh-quit-her) n. Latin for "the thing ... plex doctrine. See also: negligence
rescue doctrine :: n. the rule of law that if a rescuer of a person h ... to the car grill. See also: damages
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
strict liability :: n. automatic responsibility (without having to pro ... bility negligence res ipsa loquitur
suffering :: n. the pain, hurt, inconvenience, embarrassment an ... njury negligence pain and suffering
superseding cause :: n. the same as an "intervening cause" or "superven ... : intervening cause proximate cause
tort :: n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrong ... nce slander trespass wrongful death
vicarious liability :: n. sometimes called "imputed liability," attachmen ... r or policeman. See also: liability

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i.e. :: prep. abbreviation for id est, which is Latin for ... "e.g.," which means "for example."
illegal :: 1) adj. in violation of statute, regulation or ord ... . See also: alien illegal immigrant
illegal immigrant :: n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the Unit ... ion date of a visa. See also: alien
illusory promise :: n. an agreement to do something that is so indefin ... he may have thought was a contract.
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impanel :: v. to select and install a jury. See also: impanel ... l a jury. See also: impaneling jury
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implied contract :: n. an agreement which is found to exist based on t ... : contract express contract implied
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing :: n. a general assumption of the law of contracts, t ... -long employment. See also: implied
implied warranty :: n. an assumption at law that products are "merchan ... er. See also: caveat emptor implied
impossibility :: n. when an act cannot be performed due to nature, ... cel) a contract. See also: contract
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