Intervening Causes in Personal Injury Cases
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Intervening Causes in Personal Injury Cases
What is an Intervening Cause in Relation to a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
One of the elements of proving negligence in a personal injury claim is causation. To be awarded damages, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care, he breached that duty, the victim suffered damages, and those damages were directly caused by the defendant’s actions.
The defendant can only be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries if the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of the victim’s injuries. This means that a direct link must exist between the defendant’s actions and the injury. Occasionally, the defendant will be able to assert an affirmative defense such as an intervening cause. An intervening cause may absolve the defendant from liability; however, it typically will not absolve the defendant on the sole argument that it is an intervening cause.
What is an Intervening Cause?
Generally, an intervening cause breaks the link between the defendant’s action and the injury caused. There are several requirements that must be satisfied before an event can be labeled an intervening cause. To be classified as an intervening cause the event must have occurred after the defendant’s negligent action, but before the victim’s injury occurred. Additionally, this intervening cause must have actually caused the injury. If all these elements are met, the event can be deemed an intervening cause by the court and relinquish the defense from liability. For example, say you own a restaurant that is occasionally run by a generator located in the back alley. You spill gasoline while trying […]