Probable Cause: How Accident Lawyers Address Causation

After establishing that a duty of care was imposed on a Defendant and that breach of the same occurred leading to damages, Accident Lawyers have yet another issue to address; causation. Causation is the link between the loss incurred by the plaintiff and the actions of the defendant.

Causation in Common law is classified into two categories: Causation in law and Causation in fact.

Causation in fact is first satisfied through a “but for” test, which states in effect that for a negligent case to hold, it must be established that no loss would have been incurred by the plaintiff but for the defendant’s actions. The claimant will have to demonstrate to the court, on a balance of probability that the actions of the defendant or respondent caused the harm or loss that the plaintiff suffered. Decided cases have unequivocally held that cases where the harm to the plaintiff would have occurred regardless of the alleged wrongful actions of the defendant would vitiate the plaintiff’s claim. Accident Lawyers Richmond VA thus need to keep abreast with the issue of factual causation to win negligent cases.

Causation in law on the other hand deals with the remoteness of the damage. After demonstrating that the damage suffered by the claimant indeed would not have occurred without action on the part of the defendant, Accident Lawyers must prove to the court that the harm is not so remote as to constitute only an injustice if the defendant were to be held liable. Causation in law analyses critically the extent of the damage and the extent to which blame can be apportioned to the defendant. Whereas most negligence suits satisfy the factual causation rule, very few pass this subsequent test. Accident Lawyers Richmond VA must adduce evidence in support of the contention that the defendant’s act or omission is-to a great extent- a creation of the defendant.

Also tied to the issue of causation of law is that of foreseeability. The Wagon Mound case (1961) settled this issue when it held that no defendant should be held liable for damages that he could not have reasonably foreseen would accrue to the plaintiff. The test employed in this regard is a reasonable test referred in legal circles as the “man on the Clapham omnibus” test. This hypothetical man is educated by the reasonable standards and is relatively intelligent. He is not a specialist and neither does he possess extra ordinary skills. The question therefore is: would the man on the Clapham omnibus have reasonably foreseen that his actions would occasion damage to another party?

After proving that both the factual causation and causation in law elements have been satisfied, claimants-through Accident Lawyers must finally show that the chain of causation was not broken at any stage leading to the harm to the defendant. The general principle is that if the chain of causation is broken, then the defendant cannot be held responsible for the harm to the plaintiff-however blameworthy he may seem to be.

 Accident Lawyers Richmond VA  deal with a number of cases that stem from auto accidents to accidents on the job. Further information concerning causation and other factors to be proved in a negligent case can be obtained at: The initial consultation is free of charge.

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