If another party injures you in Texas, you can recover compensation for your damages. However, you must prove that the other person caused your injuries. Therefore, you must create a “chain of causation” by linking each legal element of a personal injury case together to prove that the other party caused your injury and damages.
Causation is one of the legal elements of a personal injury claim.
The elements you must prove in a negligence claim are:
- A legal duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Causation for the injury
The injured party has the burden of proving each legal element by a preponderance of the evidence. If they cannot prove each legal element, they are not entitled to compensation for damages under Texas tort laws. A tort is a conduct that causes another party injury or harm.
What Is Legal Causation in a Personal Injury Claim?
Proving that another party “caused” your injury involves establishing both direct causation and proximate causation.
Direct causation is referred to as cause in fact. It is the reason something happens. In other words, if it were not for “this,” then “that” would not have happened. Direct cause is often called the “but for” test.
Suppose you sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident when another driver ran a red light. Proving direct cause involves having evidence showing that the other driver ran the red light and crashed into your vehicle. The crash directly caused your spinal cord injury.
Therefore, had it not been for the other driver’s actions, you would not have suffered a spinal cord injury.
Proximate cause is a more complex legal theory. It deals with how an event relates to a specific injury you sustained. In many cases, proximate cause deals with foreseeability.
There must have been a relationship where a reasonable person could have foreseen or predicted that an action could result in an injury. A person might not be held liable for actions that are not within their control, or the person could not reasonably foresee that the action could harm another person.
What Evidence Can You Use To Prove Causation in a Personal Injury Claim?
A Fort Worth personal injury lawyer will investigate the cause of your injury to gather evidence proving causation and the other elements of a negligence claim.
Evidence in a personal injury case can include, but is not limited to:
- Statements from the parties involved in the accident or incident
- Copies of incident reports, police reports, and accident reports
- Statements from witnesses who saw the accident occur
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Photographs and videos of the accident
- Reports, research, and expert opinions
- Employment records as evidence you could not work because of injuries sustained in an accident
- Testimony from accident reconstructionists, medical specialists, and other expert witnesses
Your case is unique. Therefore, there could be additional evidence in your case.
For example, if a distracted driver caused your car crash, your lawyer might subpoena the driver’s cell phone records to show that the driver was texting while driving. On the other hand, if a defective product caused your injury, your lawyer might subpoena records from product testing or quality control records during manufacturing.
What Damages Can You Recover After Proving Causation in a Personal Injury Case?
An injured victim experiences financial losses, pain, and suffering. Economic damages compensate a victim for the monetary expenses related to the accident and injury.
Examples of economic damages include:
- The cost of medical care and treatment
- Loss of wages, benefits, salaries, and other forms of income
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Long-term nursing care for permanent impairments
- Diminished earning capacity and future lost wages
- Personal care and assistance with household chores
Personal injury victims also experience pain and suffering caused by their injuries and the traumatic experience of being in an accident.
Therefore, the law provides for compensation for non-economic damages, including:
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Decrease in quality of life
Some individuals who file a personal injury lawsuit might receive punitive damages. These damages do not compensate the victim for their losses. Instead, jurors award punitive damages when a defendant’s (the at-fault party) conduct meets a specific statutory standard.
The burden of proof for punitive damages is higher than the burden of proof for personal injury damages. As a result, punitive damages are paid in a small number of personal injury cases.
Contact a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Proving Causation and Other Elements of Your Claim
An attorney will fight to get you the money you deserve after an accident or personal injury. Schedule a free consultation with Anderson Injury Lawyers at (817) 294-1900 to help hold the negligent party who caused your injury liable for your damages.