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What is Proximate Cause in a Personal Injury Case?

Proximate cause addresses the foreseeability of an injury. In most cases, an injured person can only sue for injuries that were a foreseeable result of the at-fault person’s conduct. In most personal injury cases, the judge will instruct the jury to determine whether a reasonable person would have anticipated that the injury would occur as a result of the at-fault person’s conduct. If the jury determines that the injury was not foreseeable, the injured party cannot recover from the at-fault party. In other words, the proximate cause is essentially when the injury is the natural, probable, and foreseeable consequence of the at-fault parties’ actions.

By way of example:

DRIVER 1 is rear-ended by DRIVER 2, who was distracted on their cell phone. As a result of the collision, DRIVER 1 suffers a neck injury. DRIVER 1 may recover compensation for their neck injury from DRIVER 2. Now let’s say that DRIVER 1 was on their way to the Broncos Super Bowl and missed the game because of the accident. Can DRIVER 1 recover the cost of his Super Bowl tickets from DRIVER 2? Under the legal theory of “proximate cause” – No, because it is likely that the cost of the Super Bowl tickets was not a foreseeable consequence of DRIVER 2’s actions.

If you have been injured by the fault of another person or business, contact Burnham Law today to have an experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable legal team fighting for you.

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