Usually describes the reason something happens. The concept of cause has been used in many areas of law.
- Factual cause is often established using the but-for-test. This test evaluates whether or not the tort would have occurred without the actions or omissions of the defendant. If yes, then the defendant’s actions are not the factual cause of the tort.
- Proximate causation refers to a cause that is legally sufficient to find the defendant liable. For example, giving birth to a defendant will not be legally sufficient to find the mother liable because the birth was not the proximate cause of the tort.
[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]