During your personal injury claim, you have the burden of proving several elements. You have to show the other party had a duty of care and breached that duty. Then, you have to show the breach caused your injuries. Causation is essential to your claim. If you can’t show a close and direct link between the defendant’s actions and your injuries, then a court or insurer won’t award you compensation.
To learn about proving causation in your personal injury case, reach out to us a Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of personal injury claims, including those arising from car accidents, other vehicle accidents, medical negligence, nursing home neglect or abuse, dangerous products, and dangerous properties.
You can reach us through our online form or call (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us unless we win.
Causation is a complex element in your personal injury claim because it’s made up of two parts. You have to prove the defendant’s behavior was the cause in fact and proximate cause of your injuries.
Cause in fact is also known as “but for” causation or actual cause. You have to show you wouldn’t have been hurt but for the defendant’s actions. Without the defendant behaving like they did, you would have been fine. This is a necessary part of your claim, but it’s not enough to fully prove causation yet. That’s because the results of this test can be overly broad, and the law requires that the harm you suffered is closely linked to the negligent conduct.
The second half of causation is proximate cause, which is known as legal cause and more complex. One way to establish proximate cause is through foreseeability. You have to show that the outcome of the defendant’s behavior—your injuries—was reasonably foreseeable. You don’t have to prove the defendant actually foresaw you getting hurt, only that a reasonable person could predict that outcome.
It’s possible for two or more people or businesses to be the proximate cause of your injuries. Multiple people can be negligent and contribute to a dangerous accident. A second person legally causing your injuries doesn’t let another individual escape liability usually. We’ll seek to hold anyone and everyone who caused you harm responsible in court.
Two or more parties can cause an accident. When the parties’ actions weren’t entirely independent from each other’s conduct, this is known as concurrent causation. It’s possible to prove one or more people are the proximate cause of your injuries. Illinois doesn’t require one party to be the only cause of your injury, or even the closest or most recent cause of your injuries, to be liable.
It might be that two or more parties contributed to the accident, but one person’s conduct was unrelated to the other. When one individual is initially negligent, and then another person’s actions also contributed to the accident, this second person is called an intervening cause. Although an intervening cause also can be an act of nature. It doesn’t have to be another person. Often, when there’s an intervening cause in your case, the original negligent party is still liable for your injuries.
How the intervening cause impacts your case depends on how significant it was. Think of causation like a chain. Several links connect your injuries to the defendant’s negligent conduct. When a third party is involved somewhere along that chain, you have to determine whether their behavior is another link in the chain or breaks the connection between you and the original negligent party. When an intervening cause is so significant that it becomes the main reason you were hurt, it becomes a superseding cause. It breaks the chain between you and the other party and relieves them of liability. When a third party is a superseding cause, the original negligent person isn’t liable for your injuries anymore.
When two or more people or businesses cause your injuries, then they are jointly and severally liable for compensating you. Joint and several liability mean liable together and separately. Under Illinois law, all of the parties are equally responsible for all of your past and future medical costs. Also, any defendant a jury finds 25% or more at fault is jointly liable for the rest of your damages. You can demand the full amount from any of the defendants. Defendants who are less than 25% at fault for your injuries are liable for only their percentage of your damages other than medical expenses.
Another issue that complicates causation in a personal injury case is when a defendant claims you’re also to blame for your injuries. When a defendant points a finger back at you, then the jury has to decide if you were negligent too. It’ll assign each defendant and you a percentage of fault between zero and 100. Under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence law, you can still recover compensation if you’re less than 50% at fault. But the amount of your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility. If the jury decides you were 51% or more at fault, then the law bars you from receiving any compensation for your injuries.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is here to answer all of your questions about causation. You might not be sure who is at fault for your injuries. In this situation, we thoroughly investigate the accident to find out what happened, who was responsible, and if any other party is liable under the law. You might think multiple people are at fault. This also requires us to investigate the accident and every person who was potentially involved. We’ll analyze whether there were concurrent, intervening, or superseding causes that might impact your claim and who owes you compensation.
When we handle your case, you can be confident that we’ll leave no stone unturned in finding who is liable and holding them responsible through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Give us a call today at (312) 236-2900 or send us your information through our online form.