While preparing for your personal injury case, you may have heard your attorney talk about “causation” or “proximate cause” a lot. These are very important legal terms in all personal injury cases, but can be a little complicated to understand.
At its root, causation means that the actions of the defendant led to the plaintiff’s injuries. Think of this as establishing a cause and effect relationship between the defendant’s actions and the injuries of the plaintiff. Even if it has been established that the defendant was acting in a negligent or reckless manner, it still must be proved that their negligence was the cause of the injuries. The defendant does not have to the only cause, but must at the very least be a substantial factor in the events that led to injury.
Causation is also broken into two different types, cause in fact and proximate cause. Cause in fact means simply an event or action that directly resulted in the injuries. If the defendant’s actions were the cause in fact of injury, then the injury would not have occurred without the defendant having acted negligently. Proximate cause takes things a step further by analyzing if the defendant’s actions could have foreseeably led to injury. This is an important part of proving causation. Even if it is proved that the defendant’s actions were the cause of an injury, their actions could have possibly been so far removed from the injury that there was no way to have possibly known they were causing it.
In a personal injury case, causation is only one part of proving that the defendant is liable for injuries, but it is still crucial to understand. The other parts are that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty, and that monetary compensation is possible.
Though these may seem like simple concepts in theory, they can grow very complicated very quickly. If you are fighting a personal injury case, you need to be sure that you have the very best legal representation available to you in your area. Proving causation effectively will require both experience and skill as a litigator, and he entire case may rely on their ability to effectively demonstrate this causation. Your attorney, like a skilled personal injury or car accident lawyer Atlanta GA trusts will be taking in all of the facts of your case and laying out the best path for you, and creating the strongest arguments available.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into how to prove causation.