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3.1-1  Legal Cause

Revised to January 1, 2008

If you find that the defendant was negligent in any of the ways alleged in the plaintiff's complaint, you must next decide if such negligence was a legal cause of any of the plaintiff's claimed injuries.  Legal cause has two components: cause in fact and proximate cause.


Doe v. Manheimer, 212 Conn. 748, 757 (1989) (noting, for the first time in Connecticut, that "legal cause" is an essential element of any negligence claim, and specifying that "causation in fact" and "proximate cause" are the two components of "legal cause"); 2 Restatement (Second), Torts 430 (1965) ("In order that a negligent actor shall be liable for another's harm, it is necessary not only that the actor's conduct be negligent toward the other, but also that the negligence of the actor be a legal cause of the other's harm").


The term "a legal cause" is used instead of the term "the legal cause" because the former, though not legally required; see Tripp v. Anderson, 1 Conn. App. 433, 438-39 (1984) (so holding with respect to the term "proximate cause"); better expresses the notion that an injury may have more than one legal cause. See generally Fleming v. Garnett, 231 Conn. 77, 85-86 (1994).

To establish liability for negligence, the plaintiff need only prove that a portion of the injuries complained of were legally caused by the defendant's negligence.


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