Arizona Law Regarding Causation in Negligence/Tort Actions

In order to maintain a negligence/tort action in Arizona, an injury victim must establish the four elements of a tort. Those four elements include:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damages

In other words, the injury victim must prove that the defendant had a duty to the victim, the defendant breached that duty, and the breach of the duty caused damages.

Some previous rulings on causation include:

  • Causation is generally a question of fact for the jury to resolve. Fehribach v. Smith , 200 Ariz. 69, 73, ¶ 16, 22 P.3d 508, 512 (App. 2001).
  • Causation does not have to be established with “absolute certainty so as to exclude every other conclusion.” Morrison v. Acton , 68 Ariz. 27, 33, 198 P.2d 590, 594 (1948).
  • “To be a proximate cause, Defendant’s conduct may have contributed only slightly to the injury.” Id. (Emphasis added); Tellez v. Saban , 188 Ariz. 165, 171, 933 P.2d 1233 (App. 1996); Ontiveros v. Borak , 136 Ariz. 500-505, 667 P.2d 200 (1983).
  • The court examines the total evidence regarding causation and determines whether there is a genuine controversy for the jury to decide. “A party may prove proximate causation by presenting facts from which a causal relationship may be inferred, but the party cannot leave causation to the jury’s speculation.” Salica v. Tucson Heart Hospital-Carondelet , 224 Ariz. 414, 419, ¶ 16, 231 P.3d 946, 951 (App. 2010).
Categories: Personal Injury

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