Links In The Chain Of Causation

The majority of personal injury cases in New York are based on claims of negligence. Injury cases involving claims of negligence include cases involving motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, slips and falls, and nursing home abuse.

What is the Chain of Causation?

The chain of causes sounds extremely complex. However, it is only the connections between the elements of a negligence claim. Consider the chain of causes as a series of paper circles.

Each “link” in the chain is dependent on the previous and subsequent links. If a link is missing or breaks, it is impossible to connect the beginning of the chain to its end.

In a personal injury case, the first legal element of negligence must be “connected” to the last legal element of negligence. You cannot prove negligence if you cannot complete the chain. If you are unable to establish negligence, you cannot recover damages for your injury.

What Are the Legal Elements of a Negligence Claim?

You must link the following legal elements of a negligence claim in the chain of causation:

  • Responsibility for Care
  • Breach of Duty of Care Risk of Injury or Accidental Damages

If you can connect each legal component,

Establishing the Chain of Causation

Examine each link in the chain of causation by analysing a case involving a car accident.

The chain begins with establishing a responsibility for care. The person must owe you a duty of care for them to be liable for your injuries.

A duty of care is the obligation to act with the same or similar care, prudence, and vigilance that a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances.

In our example, all drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles so as not to endanger others on the road.

A breach is a violation of a contract, legal obligation, or statute. You can violate an obligation by performing a particular act or by omission.

In a case involving a car accident, the breach of duty of care could involve a variety of actions, including:

  • Inattentional driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Not yielding the right-of-way
  • Tailgating or excessively close following

Any traffic law violation could be considered a breach of duty. These behaviours increase the likelihood of a car accident. To establish fault, it is not sufficient to demonstrate that the driver breached the duty of care.

You must establish a connection between the breach of the duty of care and a hazard, dangerous condition, or accident.

A hazard is a danger or risk that has the potential to cause harm to another individual. An accident is an unexpected or unintended occurrence that can result in bodily harm. You must directly link the violation to the hazard or accident.

In a case involving a car accident, you must provide evidence linking the driver’s actions to the accident. A driver, for instance, ran a red light and collided with another vehicle. The vehicle in the intersection had priority at the intersection.

The driver who ran the red light violated the duty of care by acting irresponsibly and carelessly. The violation of duty created a hazardous situation that caused the collision directly.

The following connection is between the collision and your injuries. Automobile accidents can result in a variety of injuries, including broken bones, brain damage, amputations, chest injuries, spinal cord injuries, and organ damage.

You had no injuries prior to the collision. You should be able to link your injuries to the car crash using medical records.

The final connection between your injuries and damages is between your injuries and damages. In a personal injury lawsuit, monetary damages may include lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

You must provide evidence of your financial losses. Evidence may include copies of medical bills, expense receipts, and proof of income loss.

Damages may also include damages for “pain and suffering” or non-economic losses. This includes your physical pain, emotional distress, disfigurement, impairments, and loss of life’s pleasures.

Pain and suffering can be difficult to prove in court. Keeping a journal of your pain and the effects of your injuries on your daily life can aid in calculating pain and suffering damages.

Can I File an Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

The situation depicted in the example is straightforward. Creating the chain of causes is straightforward. However, most cases of personal injury are not as straightforward.

It may be necessary to conduct a thorough accident investigation in order to establish fault and liability. Collecting evidence can be time-consuming and expensive. A personal injury attorney is capable of handling all aspects of a case, including investigations, gathering evidence, documenting damages, and establishing the chain of causation.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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