A personal injury claim is a civil suit filed by the victim of another party’s negligence or illegal misconduct. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm they’ve done and to recover compensation for their losses. A personal injury plaintiff may be entitled to claim more compensation than they initially expect, but before they can secure any kind of repayment of their damages, they must prove how their personal injury happened and identify the party or parties responsible for causing it.
One issue that may arise in a personal injury claim is proximate cause. In some personal injury cases, the cause of an injury is perfectly clear and unambiguous. In others, there is room for argument from the defendant as to whether they are actually responsible for causing the injury. Ultimately, you could encounter a more challenging series of legal proceedings with your personal injury claim and will need an experienced personal injury attorney you can trust to help you succeed with the claim.
Understanding Proximate Cause
When the exact cause of a personal injury is clearly apparent, this is known as actual cause. The actual cause directly and immediately caused the injury. Proximate cause would be whatever was the primary or most substantial cause of the injury when an actual cause cannot be determined. For example, imagine a pedestrian is hit by a car while crossing the street. The vehicle striking them would be the actual cause of their injury. However, if the car that hit them was propelled into the intersection by another driver hitting them from behind, this would be the proximate cause of the injury.
Establishing a proximate cause can be a crucial element of a personal injury claim in several ways. Not only may this be necessary to identify the party or parties responsible for the damages, but proximate cause can also establish a causal link between the negligence or misconduct and the plaintiff’s losses. If you intend to claim compensation for a personal injury and for the losses you suffered, you must not only prove the full extent of those losses but also show evidence that establishes causation between the defendant’s actions and those losses, meaning they cannot have occurred from any other cause.
Success with any personal injury claim requires meeting the burden of proof to establish a defendant’s fault. Depending on how the injury occurred, actual cause and/or proximate cause could come into play. The plaintiff will need to present evidence showing exactly how their injury occurred, and they will need to identify the defendant or defendants who caused the injury. An experienced attorney can be invaluable for the help they can provide in this effort, assisting their client in gathering physical evidence from the scene of the accident, obtaining statements from witnesses who saw the incident happen firsthand, or even consulting expert witnesses whose professional insights can help the plaintiff establish proximate cause.
Q: What Is Proximate Cause in a Personal Injury Case?
A: In a personal injury case, the proximate cause is the primary or most substantial cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Success with a personal injury case hinges on the ability to identify the party responsible for the injury and prove that their actions directly caused the damages. Proximate cause in most personal injury cases is an act of negligence, but it could also be an act of illegal misconduct.
Q: How Does Comparative Fault Work in Personal Injury Claims?
A: Colorado upholds the modified comparative fault rule with a plaintiff fault threshold of 50%. This means that as long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault for a personal injury, they can still claim compensation from the defendant. However, they lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault. If they are found to be 50% or more at fault they will lose the ability to claim compensation from the defendant.
Q: What Does an Expert Witness Do in a Personal Injury Claim?
A: Expert witnesses are sometimes called to testify on behalf of personal injury plaintiffs. These are experts in specific fields and can provide valuable insights into specific aspects of a case. For example, an accident reconstruction expert may be called in to explain exactly how a car accident happened, explaining the physics involved and identifying the driver responsible for causing the accident. Expert witnesses are often valuable in cases when it comes to proving proximate cause in complex personal injury claims.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Personal Injury?
A: The objective of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for the damages the defendant caused. The plaintiff has the right to seek full repayment of any direct financial losses they suffered because of the defendant’s actions, and the plaintiff may also claim compensation for anticipated future damages resulting from the incident. It’s also possible for the plaintiff to recover pain and suffering compensation, but this is capped under state law.
Q: Why Do I Need Legal Representation for My Personal Injury Case?
A: It’s technically possible to file a personal injury case without an attorney, but this would be incredibly challenging for several reasons. You would be compelled to gather evidence and meet court filing deadlines on your own while managing your medical issues. Even if you managed to meet all the procedural requirements of your case, you would be unlikely to achieve the same results that a seasoned attorney could reach for you. Ultimately, hiring an attorney improves your chance of success with the claim and the likelihood of maximizing your recovery.
The team at the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal regularly assists clients in Colorado Springs and surrounding communities with all types of complex personal injury cases, and we take time to develop individualized legal strategies for each client we represent. If you are unsure how to approach your recovery efforts after another party has injured you, we can help. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation with a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney you can trust with your recovery.