Most personal injury claims filed in Fort Walton Beach are based on negligence. Negligence is the failure to act with a standard of care that a reasonable person would have used in a similar situation. Negligent people can be held liable for damages caused by their negligence.
For example, if a driver turns left in front of another vehicle without the right of way, the driver may cause a traffic accident. Because the driver’s failure to use a reasonable standard of care (following traffic laws) caused the car crash, that driver could be liable for the accident victim’s damages.
The above scenario is a simple explanation of how causation factors into a negligence claim. However, before we discuss causation in detail, it helps to have a basic understanding of a negligence claim.
What Are the Legal Elements Required to Prove Negligence for a Fort Walton Beach Injury Claim?
As stated above, negligence is failing to act with reasonable care. There are four legal elements to prove negligence:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty of Care
The duty of care means that the at-fault party had a duty to act with reasonable care to prevent harm or injury to another person. The breach of duty means that the at-fault party failed to use reasonable care.
Next is the legal element of causation. Even if you prove that a defendant’s actions breached the duty of care, it is not sufficient to recover compensation unless the defendant’s act was the “direct and proximate cause” of the victim’s injuries.
What is Causation in a Personal Injury Case?
A cause refers to the reason something happens. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant caused their injury. Causation in the law requires that you prove two elements – factual causation and proximate causation.
What is Factual Causation?
Factual causation is also known as direct cause. The “but for” or the substantial factor test is usually applied to a situation to determine if the situation meets this concept of causation. You must be able to show that you would not have sustained an injury “but for” the defendant’s conduct.
What is Proximate Causation?
Legal or proximate cause requires that the defendant could foresee that their specific conduct could put another person at risk of harm. If the defendant could not reasonably foresee a risk of harm, causation may fail.
A defendant may not be held liable for remote or accident factors that the defendant could not control.
The Concept of Causation Can Be Complicated
The above explanation may seem overwhelming. However, the good news is that you do not need to understand the concept of proximate cause or direct cause to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
When you hire an attorney, your lawyer handles these matters for you. The lawyer’s responsibility is to prove causation as part of the case.
Proving causation requires gathering evidence that shows the defendant’s actions directly led to your injuries. the types of evidence the attorney may gather during the accident investigation include:
- Copies of your medical records
- Accident reports and police reports
- Copies of statements and reports from ambulance drivers and tow-truck drivers
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
- Videos of the accident or injury as it occurred
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Statements from the parties and eyewitnesses
- Forensic evidence
- Research, reports, and opinions gathered from expert witnesses
Our legal team diligently investigates your claim to gather all available evidence to create the chain of causation. We also work to document your damages to prepare a settlement demand requesting the maximum value for your damages.
Call Now for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Our legal team at Brannon & Brannon is here to help you as you seek compensation for injuries and damages that were not your fault. We want to see that you receive a fair settlement for your claim.
Call our law office now to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney. Let’s work together to get you the money you deserve.