Causation is an essential part of every civil tort lawsuit case. Whenever you file a case to recover compensation for injuries, you must prove causation. Causation must be proved in claims based on negligence, where you assert a defendant was unreasonably careless. Causation must also be proved in strict liability claims and in civil cases based on intentional wrongdoing.
What Does Causation Mean in a Long Beach Injury Claim?
In the simplest terms, causation in injury claims means exactly what it sounds like: you must prove an injury was caused by the defendant in order for the defendant to be responsible for compensating you for the harm. However, actually determining causation can be complicated.
To determine causation, typically the court will consider whether the injury you sustained would have happened if the defendant had not acted, or had not failed to act. This test is sometimes called the but for test. If your injuries would not have happened but for the defendant’s conduct, the defendant can be held liable. If there were multiple factors leading to your injury, you have to show the defendant’s actions or inactions were a substantial contributing factor in causing the injury.
California Civil Jury Instruction 430 addresses causation and defines a substantial factor in causing harm. According to the instructions given to the jury in civil cases: “A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm. It must be more than a remote or trivial factor. It does not have to be the only cause of the harm.”
California Civil Jury Instruction 431 explains what happens if there were multiple causes of an injury. According to this instruction given to a jury in a civil case, a defendant: “cannot avoid responsibility just because some other person, condition, or event was also a substantial factor in causing… [the plaintiff’s] harm.” As long as the defendant’s actions or inactions were a “substantial factor” in causing the injuries, that particular defendant should be held accountable.
Proximate Cause in Injury Cases
There is another important factor in determining causation in civil tort lawsuits. This is proximate cause. Proximate cause limits the scope of the injuries a defendant can be liable for. A defendant can be held responsible for injuries only if those injuries bear a reasonable relationship to the risk of the defendant’s actions. The test here is foreseeability. Was it foreseeable the defendant’s actions would have led to the damage to the plaintiff? If so, the defendant can be liable for the damage.
Getting Help Proving Causation from a Long Beach Injury Lawyer
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Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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