Negligence is a:
legal cause of loss, injury or damage if it directly and in natural and continuous sequence produces or contributes substantially to producing such loss, injury or damage, so that it can reasonably be said that, but for the negligence, the loss, injury or damage would not have occurred. Florida Civil Jury Instruction 401.12a
Legal cause is also known as causation. In order to recover damages in a personal injury case, the defendant’s negligence must have caused the claimant’s injury. If your injury is a fractured bone, then it may be easy to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury. This is because fractures are usually caused by trauma. But proving cause is more challenging if you have a pre-existing injury or a doctor will not relate your injury to an accident.
Example – How Causation Affects Settlement Value
Facts of One of My Prior Cases:
Fred tore his Achilles tendon while he was playing soccer. His Achilles was having difficulty healing. He was on crutches while shopping at a Miami supermarket. He was injured again when he slipped and fell on a dirty, smudgy substance on the floor of the supermarket.
Fred was taken to the hospital. The prior Achilles tendon surgery had re-opened. Fred later had 2 skin grafts on his leg. For argument’s sake, let’s assume the supermarket was negligent and Fred was not comparatively negligent.
Fred’s podiatrist states in her medical records that the fall caused the wound to reopen, which resulted in 2 skin grafts. The supermarket hired an orthopedic surgeon who states that the Fred’s 2 skin grafts were the result of his prior surgery, and were caused by poor healing. Basically the defense doctor said Fred’s current injury was not caused by the fall at the supermarket.
In this example, the claims adjuster for the supermarket had to decide whether the supermarket’s negligence was the cause of Fred’s injury. The adjuster then determined whether to decrease the full value of Fred’s case by causation issues, if any.
The issue of cause is just one of many factors used to calculate the settlement value of an injured person’s case. I settled this exact case for $300,000. I am unsure how much the claims adjuster reduced the value of the claim for causation issues, but they argued that my client’s injuries were not caused by the fall.
In this case, thankfully my client had a doctor who was a patient advocate and stated in her medical records that the fall at the supermarket caused the shopper’s injuries. It is very important to treat with Florida doctors who are patient advocates as this will help prove causation as well as other issues.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated.
Can u help me find a lawyer in Denver Colorado in reguards to a wrongful death that was caused because of a shooting that happened a few years before the death of the victim of a shooting that caused my brother to be paralyzed years ago and then killed him because of an infection that wasn’t found and caused because of the shooting even when multiple doctors and hospitals were involved and said nothing was wrong and just prescribed pain pills instead let him go then he died
Justin Ziegler, Lawyer says
Unfortunately, I don’t know any lawyers in Denver. I’m sorry that this happened to your brother. I wish you good luck.
Note: There is a time limit to sue. You should quickly speak with a lawyer.