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What Is Proximate Cause In a Personal Injury Claim?

Claim After an Accident

In order for you to successfully seek compensation after getting injured in an accident, you need to prove that the accident occurred as a result of the other party’s negligent or reckless actions. In order to bring a valid claim, you need to prove four elements:

  1. Another party owed you a duty of care.
  2. That party breached the duty of care by failing to do something that he or she was legally obligated to do.
  3. The breach was the direct or proximate cause of your injury.
  4. You suffered injuries as a result of the breach of duty.

Proximate Cause Defined

Proximate causation is defined as when an injury occurs as a direct or uninterrupted consequence of a separate specific action. In other words, if you were injured as a direct result of another party’s action, the action is the proximate cause of your injuries.

If your lawsuit involves the question of proximate cause, your case can be complex as most accidents have more than one cause. In such cases, your injury may have resulted from more than one party’s negligence, including your own. As such, your case is said to have multiple proximate cause.

Foreseeable Events

The proximate cause of an injury must have been a foreseeable event, often referred to as the “foreseeable chain of events.” In other words, if there is no way that a reasonable party could have been injured by a certain condition, the alleged at-fault party cannot be held liable.

For example, if Joe had been injured while attempting to jump off a tree, management would not have been held liable. They could not have foreseen a reasonable individual doing such an act.

Third Parties and Foreseeability

Proximate causation does not extend to third parties who may get injured in the extended circumstances of an accident. Consider the scenario where John is pushing a shopping cart full of groceries and holds on to it to keep from falling on an icy walkway. The cart slips out of his grasp and crashes into another party causing him to fall and get injured.

Although the property owner’s failure to clear the walkway may be the proximate cause of John’s injuries, it was not foreseeable that he would lose grip and push the shopping cart into another person injuring them. Under such facts, it would be unlikely that a trier of fact would find the property owner liable for that third party’s injuries. The third party may however have a valid claim against John.

The bottom line is that proving proximate cause can be complex, especially if it involves multiple causes. As such, it is always best to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to prove your case.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles

Were you or a loved one injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party? Please contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to learn about your rights and obtain the full compensation that you deserve. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas today at 888.848.5084.