Garcia v. Colorado Cab Co.
2023 CO 56. No. 21SC895. Torts—Negligence—Proximate Cause—Rescue Doctrine—Foreseeability—Issues of Law or Fact in General.
November 14, 2023
In this negligence case, the Supreme Court addressed how to analyze proximate cause under the rescue doctrine. Adhering to Colorado’s long-standing foreseeability approach, the Court held that, to prove proximate cause, a rescuer must show that their injuries were reasonably foreseeable based on the defendant’s alleged tortious conduct and the nature of the rescue attempt. A rescuer’s injuries are reasonably foreseeable if they naturally flow from the circumstances created by the defendant’s tortious conduct or the rescue attempt. This doesn’t mean that precisely how the injuries occurred had to be foreseeable, only that the harm was within the scope of risk that was reasonably foreseeable.
The Court then concluded that, based on the facts of this case, a reasonable jury could—and did—find that the rescuer’s injuries were proximately caused by Garcia’s negligence. The division therefore erred by reversing, as a matter of law, the jury’s verdict. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the jury’s verdict.