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What is the Difference Between a Producing Cause and Proximate Cause?

One of the elements necessary to prove in order to have a successful claim is causation. In other words, that the negligence of the defendant caused your injuries or damages. When it comes to products liability there are two different types of causation: producing cause and proximate cause.

The type of negligence argued (marketing, manufacturing, design) in a products liability case will determine whether a plaintiff needs to prove a producing cause or a proximate cause of their injuries. In this article, we'll look at what defines producing cause, what defines proximate causes, and how each kind of negligence claims interacts with the two.


Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What exactly is a products liability negligence case?
  • How does products liability work under Texas law?
  • What are the different kinds of product defects?

Products Liability Negligence Claims

Before we look at the specifics of how producing cause and proximate cause function, let's see what each type of products liability negligence claim needs in order to prove the elements of the claim:

  • Design defect - The plaintiff must prove that the defect was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damages, or death.
  • Manufacturing defect - The plaintiff must prove that the manufacturing defect/error proximately caused the injurious event.
  • Marketing defect - The plaintiff must prove that the marketing defect was the proximate cause of injuries incurred. Particularly with marketing, this is an issue of foreseeability of a danger associated with a particular product.

What is Producing Cause?

Producing cause refers to an efficient, exciting, or contributing cause, which, in a natural sequence, produced injuries or damages complained of, if any. There can be multiple producing causes or a singular producing cause.

For example, a popular soda company has come up with a new trendy bottle for their product just in time for summer. However, in their research they didn't take into account that people sometimes leave drinks in their cars to sit in the heat. Unfortunately, when this new bottle overheats, the lid comes flying off the top like a champagne cork and it shatters around the middle sending shards out in every direction. Either of these design defects could be a producing cause of injuries.

What is Proximate Cause?

Proximate cause means that cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, produces an event, and without which cause such event would not have occurred. In order to be a proximate cause, the act of omission complained of must be such that a person using ordinary care would have foreseen that the event, or some similar event, might reasonably result therefrom. There may be more than one proximate cause of an event.

Proximate cause requires foreseeability to be present. Producing cause doesn't have this requirement. In order to be a proximate cause, it needs to be proven that it was foreseeable that an injury could happen as a result of their negligent act. For instance,

Contacting an Experienced Attorney

We understand that products liability cases can be complex to wrap your mind around. Grossman Law Offices has over 25 years of experience. We've won thousands of personal injury claims, and we know this area do the law well. If you'd like to talk to someone about your case, how the litigation process works, or anything else relating to products liability, we're happy to speak with you.

Call (855) 326-0000 at whatever time is most convenient for you. We have experienced attorneys available to speak with you 24/7.


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