October 27, 2022

What is Causation & How Do You Prove It?

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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When you have suffered critical injuries caused by another party, you may be ready to fully hold them accountable to recover your damages. However, for your lawsuit to be successful, your personal injury attorney will be responsible for proving that the elements of negligence have been met.

To prove negligence, your attorney must show that the defendant knew or should have known that they owed you a duty of care and breached that duty of care, thereby causing your damages or injuries. However, what is causation, and how can your attorney prove it?

Defining Causation

In personal injury claims, causation describes the relationship between how your injuries occurred and the action before them. Causation is the act that ultimately produces your injuries in a personal injury claim.

Your attorney must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the negligent actions were the ultimate cause of your injuries. For your personal injury lawsuit to be successful, the elements of negligence must be proven:

  • The liable party owed you a duty of care
  • The liable party made a decision or action which reached their duty of care
  • The liable party’s actions or conduct are responsible for causing your damages
  • You suffered injuries or damages because of the defendant’s negligence or misconduct

Types of Causation

Causation in personal injury claims can be challenging to determine; however, getting a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side who understands the elements of causation is crucial. These include:

  • Cause-in-fact – Also commonly referred to as actual cause or factual causation, this describes the facts of the case that prove the defendant’s liability for causing the injury victim’s damages.
  • Proximate cause – Proximate causation is not necessarily rooted in fact, but in determining whether the victim’s damages or injuries would have happened without the proximate cause. For example, suppose a driver who was under the influence struck and killed someone. In that case, that driver should have known that operating a vehicle under the influence could potentially cause injury or death.

Examples of Cause in Negligence

Proving cause and negligence can be more complicated than you might think. Some examples of causation in personal injury claims could include:

  • A manufacturer is aware that their product was defective but fails to warn consumers of the risks
  • A homeowner left the gate to their backyard pool open, resulting in a child drowning
  • A property owner fails to make necessary repairs promptly

The specific circumstances of your case, the awareness of the liable party, and the defendant’s intent could all play a part in the outcome of your case.

It should also be noted that New York State operates under a comparative negligence system. The defense may argue that you are partially responsible for causing your injuries. If this happens, your injury settlement could be reduced in proportion to your percentage of the blame.

How Do You Prove Cause in Negligence?

Personal injury claims require your attorney to prove the defendant is responsible for causing your injuries and subsequent damages. However, to win your case, you will be tasked with establishing liability based on a preponderance of the evidence.

Examples of types of evidence that could be used to prove cause in a personal injury claim could include:

  • Medical records
  • Accident and police reports
  • Statements from expert witnesses and bystanders
  • Employment records
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Video of the accident
  • Forensic evidence collected from the scene of the accident

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

A personal injury attorney will understand how personal injury laws work, understand the elements needed to prove and establish negligence, and obtain the evidence required to prove causation and liability in your personal injury claim.

These cases are often inundated with evidence that may or may not be useful. Your attorney will know which types of evidence will prove most valuable in your case and will work tirelessly to ensure we have the details and facts we need to prove fault and negligence and recover maximum compensation for your damages.

Call HKD for Help with Your Claim

After everything you have been through, you need a legal advocate on your side who has extensive experience dealing with New York City personal injury claims. Our attorneys at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. understand the compelling types of evidence needed to prove causation and negligence in your case.

Maximize your compensation and move forward with your life when you contact our office for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Schedule yours today by completing our quick contact form or calling our office at (212) 490-5700.