Efficient Proximate Cause Law and Legal Definition

Efficient proximate cause is the one that sets others in motion. The efficient proximate cause is not necessarily the last act in a chain of events. While the efficient proximate cause is said to set into motion a chain of events, it is not necessarily the triggering cause, rather it is the predominating cause.

In W. Nat'l Mut. Ins. Co. v. Univ. of N.D., 2002 ND 63 (N.D. 2002), the court observed that “The determination of efficient proximate cause is generally a factual question for the trier of fact. The efficient proximate cause is not necessarily the last act in the chain of events, nor necessarily is it the triggering cause, and the efficient proximate cause looks to the quality of the links and the chain of causation and is considered the predominating cause of the loss.”

Further, the court also observed in Kelly v. Farmers Ins. Co., 281 F. Supp. 2d 1290 (D. Okla. 2003) that “In the insurance context, the determination as to the efficient proximate cause of a loss presents a question of fact for the jury.”