legal term that describes an act or omission that can be attributed as cause of loss and/ or injury.
In law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to an injury that the courts deem the event to be the cause of that injury. There are two types of causation in the law: cause-in-fact, and proximate (or legal) cause. Cause-in-fact is determined by the "but for" test: But for the action, the result would not have happened. (For example, but for running the red light, the collision would not have occurred.) The action is a necessary condition, but may not be a sufficient condition, for the resulting injury. A few circumstances exist where the but for test is ineffective (see But-for test). Since but-for causation is very easy to show (but for stopping to tie your shoe, you would not have missed the train and would not have been mugged), a second test is used to determine if an action is close enough to a harm in a "chain of events" to be legally valid. This test is called proximate cause. Proximate cause is a key principle of Insurance and is concerned with how the loss or damage actually occurred. There are several competing theories of proximate cause (see Other factors). For an act to be deemed to cause a harm, both tests must be met; proximate cause is a legal limitation on cause-in-fact.
The formal Latin term for "but for" (cause-in-fact) causation, is sine qua non causation.