In any personal injury claim, one of the most important factors to consider is “who is at fault?” Who or what has caused someone else’s injuries (or death)? Is there one party at fault or multiple parties?
While some of these answers may be very simple: A driver is rear-ended by someone distracted by texting. Who is at fault? The person texting and driving in the second car whose distracted driving resulted in not being able to stop her car in time.
But not all car accidents have a clear-cut answer of who is at fault. Determining causation is an integral part of all car accident claims because legal liability is based on who is at fault (or who was negligent) and caused another party’s injuries or death.
The first thing to prove in any vehicle accident case is that someone was at fault for the accident, and this can take a great deal of time when it’s not obvious like in the example above. The second thing that you must prove is that you were injured, and the third point you must prove is that the injuries suffered were caused by the other driver’s negligence or reckless conduct. A clear line of causation must exist between the other driver’s actions (the defendant) and your injuries (the plaintiff).
When attempting to show causation, it has to be determined, first, whether a reasonable person would foresee a risk of injuries from careless or reckless behavior. A glaring example of this would be someone running a red light should be able to reasonably foresee this action can lead to a collision with another driver and could possibly result in serious injuries.
Second, the at-fault driver’s actions must be the cause of the accident victim’s injuries, so if the driver had not run the red light, the accident and subsequent injuries would likely not have occurred. Stopping at the red light could have prevented any injuries from ever occurring.
Evidence of Causation
If you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your car accident claim, he will need to gather as much evidence as possible to help prove negligence on the part of the other driver, and to do that, he will look at:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Black box records
- Blood and alcohol tests
- Any auto manufacturer/auto design information if a defective auto is involved in the accident
If you watch any type of crime show on TV, you know how unreliable eyewitness accounts usually are. For this reason, attorneys often rely on the police report and any video footage they can collect from surrounding surveillance cameras, phone video footage from people at the scene, and any still photos bystanders were able to capture of the accident or its aftermath. An accident reconstructionist is often used in more complex cases to help illustrate through images and videos how the accident likely occurred if other evidence is limited.
Unfortunately, causation is not always as cut and dry as it is in a rear-end accident, a stoplight violation, or a DUI accident. If you have been injured in a car accident in Shreveport due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please contact attorney J. Ransdell Keene to schedule a free consultation.