Explaining the Element of Causation

When someone is injured by someone else in Florida, the law allows for the filing of a Florida personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation in the form of monetary damages. Despite the fact that media of all forms is saturated with advertisements from Miami personal injury lawyers that makes such a recovery of damages seem simple, the reality is that succeeding with such a claim requires skill, knowledge and experience.

Below you’ll find an overview of one of the four elements of negligence that must be proven in order for a plaintiff to succeed in a Florida personal injury lawsuit. This element is known as causation, and it can be extremely confusing. You’ll also find information regarding how to proceed for help from Miami personal injury lawyers.

Causation Described

Causation, put in its simplest form, is one of the elements of proof of negligence in which the plaintiff in a lawsuit must show that the defendant’s actions either directly or indirectly led to the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiff. If causation is not proven properly, then the plaintiff cannot succeed with his or her case. Below are just a few intricacies that relate to causation within negligence.

Foreseeable Plaintiffs

Generally, in order for causation to be valid, a plaintiff in a personal injury case must be foreseeable. This notion dates back to 1928, when a case in New York helped to define causation more specifically. The case is known as Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., 428 N.Y. 339, 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928). In this case, legendary Judge Benjamin Cardozo stated that defendants are only liable to potential plaintiffs who could reasonably be foreseen as having to deal with the results of actions.

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Res ipsa loquitor is actually Latin for ‘the thing speaks for itself.’ This legal doctrine basically states that in the absence of any proof that a defendant was negligent, if circumstances are such that there is no other explanation for the plaintiff’s injuries other than the fact that the defendant somehow was negligent and caused the plaintiff’s injury, then this could be considered proof of negligence.

The ‘But For’ Test

Another prong of causation is known as the ‘but for’ test or more traditionally ‘sine quo non.’ This phrase, also in Latin, means ‘without which not’ and it basically describes the but for test. Basically, if the plaintiff could not have been harmed ‘but for’ negligence by the defendant that caused the injury, then the court could consider the defendant negligent.

As you can see, proving causation involves many intricacies. Therefore, rather than assuming that winning a Florida personal injury case is a simple matter, seek the help of Miami workers’ compensation lawyers who have years of experience in successfully dealing with causation issues. Contact Bernstein & Maryanoff today to schedule a free initial consultation.