Unfortunately, proximate cause is the exception that proves the rule (please excuse the pun). A great deal of confusion persists about what the term “proximate cause” is meant to convey. Students find this very frustrating: Justifiably, you would like some answers, some solid ground on which to base an understanding of a difficult concept.
Yet, if exact definition eludes us (as it does, of course, for other useful concepts, like “negligence” or “justice”) we can still achieve a working knowledge of the problem sufficient for most purposes. This chapter seeks such a working knowledge of “proximate cause.”