The Empty Chair Defense and Proximate Cause It Wasn't Me… You've been injured in an accident and the person who injured you says they're not responsible. Sure, they were involved in the accident, but they were not the cause. They claim a third party set in motion the events that led to your injury. They don't know who this third party is or where to find them. All they know is this third party caused your injury. When a defendant makes claims like these they are presenting what's known as an empty chair defense. This third party is normally not present at trial. So it is as if the defendant is blaming an empty chair in the courtroom for your injury. If you have been injured in an accident and the person who injured you claims they are not responsible call Zayed Law Offices at 855.726.1616. Our experienced trial attorneys have seen the empty chair defense before and know how to handle it. Proximate Cause The technical term for the empty chair defense is sole proximate cause. Understanding proximate cause is essential to understanding sole proximate cause. Proximate cause is an act or omission that results in an injury. The proximate cause sets in motion a natural and continuous sequence of events that is unbroken by any intervening cause. Several different proximate causes may combine to cause an injury. For example a stranger pushes your friend. Your friend bumps into you knocking you in front of a bus. You are hit by that bus and injured. The stranger did not push you in front of the bus, but without them pushing your friend you wouldn't have been hit by the bus. The stranger is a proximate cause of your injuries. Your friend is also a proximate cause of your injuries as they bumped you into the street. The bus driver is a proximate cause of your injuries as well because they hit you with the bus. All of their actions were links in the chain of events that lead to your injuries. As all three were a proximate cause of your injuries you can attempt to recover from all of them. Whether you will successfully recover from all three depends on if they acted knowingly or negligently. Sole Proximate Cause There can be several proximate causes of an injury, but there can only be one sole proximate cause. As its name implies the sole proximate cause is the sole or only cause of the injury. Sole proximate cause is useful to defendants as it allows them to assign blame to a third party. The defendant does not have to prove that this third party was negligent. All the defendant must do is provide some competent evidence that the third party's conduct was the cause of the injury. If the third party is the sole proximate cause of your injury you will not be able to recover from the defendant.