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"but for" test

In first-party property cases involving multiple perils, courts use the "but for" test to determine whether a given peril is a cause-in-fact of the loss.

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To do that, courts conduct a "thought experiment" and imagine what would happen if one of the perils did not occur. If the loss would have happened anyway with or without the occurrence of the removed peril, then the removed peril fails the "but for" test. What that means is that the removed peril is not really a cause-in-fact of the loss, so it cannot be selected as the proximate cause.


"but for" cause

Related Terms

Proximate cause is the cause having the most significant impact in bringing about the loss under a...