One of the most important tools used in personal injury cases to determine who was negligent, and to what extent, is a foreseeability test. Continue reading to learn about foreseeability tests and how they are used to determine proximate cause in a personal injury case.
Everyone has a legal “duty of care” to uphold, meaning they are responsible for not causing harm or injury to another person. This is the law in the United States. Negligence is the act of breaching that duty, and proving it is the first factor in personal injury cases. In order for a person to be guilty of negligence in a personal injury case, the act that caused the harm or injury must be foreseeable. This also relates to proximate cause, since the concept of foreseeability is used to determine the legal cause of injury.
ForeseeabilityThe law uses foreseeability tests to determine legal causation, or proximate cause, in personal injury cases. They are basically questions that are used as a formula for determining whether or not a person should have “reasonably foreseen” the harmful consequences of their actions. The law does, however, make certain distinctions based on the foreseeability of the type of harm and the manner of which the harm occurred; but not the extent of harm. Terms for these concepts include: unforeseeable type of
harm and unforeseeable manner of harm.
Unforeseeable Type of Harm
A person is not liable for injuries and accidents to others that occur under unlikely circumstances, or events that are generally unforeseeable. For example, if a person dropped a bag of marbles on the ground and failed to clean them up, causing another person to slip and injure themselves, they can be legally liable since slipping on marbles is a foreseeable consequence. But if the marbles reflect in the sun in a way that causes a spark and subsequent fire, they would not be liable for injuries caused by the fire since a fire is not a foreseeable consequence of marbles left on the ground. Of course there are several exceptions to these concepts depending on the various unique circumstances of a person’s case. This is why it is imperative to hire a personal injury lawyer to manage your case and proceedings and recover full and fair compensation for your damages and losses.
Unforeseeable Manner of Harm
In the event that a person acts negligently in a way that does NOT harm another person, but then a superseding event makes the initial negligence harmful to others, the person may not be held liable for the superseding event and subsequent damages. For example, if a person leaves a candle burning while they are at school, and an earthquake occurs causing the candle to fall over and catch everything on fire, the person may not be held liable for the damages caused by the fire since a second event caused the candle to fall over and catch fire; even though it can be argued by opposing parties that the initial act of leaving a candle burning is negligent.
Again, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your team to protect you against low insurance settlements and tricky lawsuit proceedings. They have the knowledge, experience, and resources needed to recover a fair settlement for your losses.
Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C.Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to find experienced personal injury lawyers in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attorneys Daniel Craven, Ralph Hoover, and Keith Blazek have extensive trial and litigation experience, and will fight to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you and your family deserves after being injured in an accident. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning if we don’t recover for you, you owe us nothing. Call 317-881-2700 to schedule a consultation with a licensed personal injury
attorney in Indianapolis, IN today.