Understanding Legal Causation in Personal Injury Cases

When someone is injured due to the negligence of another, they may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. However, to receive such compensation, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions. This concept is known as legal causation, and it can be difficult to understand. In this blog post, we will explain what legal causation is and how it applies to personal injury cases.

We will start by looking at “cause-in-fact” — also known as “but-for” causation — which establishes that without the defendant’s action or inaction, the harm would not have occurred. We will then move on to proximate cause, which looks at whether a reasonable person should have foreseen that an act could lead to harm even if it was not directly responsible for causing the specific harm suffered by the plaintiff. Finally, we will discuss how courts determine legal causation in personal injury cases based on these two concepts and other relevant factors. Continue below to get started.

Call 317-881-2700 to Speak With a Civil Attorney in Indianapolis Indiana
Call 317-881-2700 to Speak With a Civil Lawyer in Indianapolis Indiana

Establishing Legal Causation

When people think of cause and effect, they may think of cause-in-fact. In a personal injury case, this means that the defendant’s act or omission must have been the “but-for” cause of the plaintiff’s harm — without it, the harm would not have occurred. This is an essential requirement for establishing causation in most jurisdictions. For example, if someone was injured due to being hit by a car that had no brakes, then the driver who failed to maintain their brakes can be held liable because their failure was necessary for the accident to occur as it did.

Proximate Cause

However, sometimes there are multiple causes for an injury, complicating matters and making cause-in-fact difficult to prove. That’s where the concept of proximate cause comes in. This is an examination of whether a reasonable person should have foreseen that an act could lead to harm, even if it was not directly responsible for causing the specific harm suffered by the plaintiff. Courts tend to look at a variety of factors when making this determination, such as how foreseeable the harm was and whether there were any intervening events or forces that contributed to the injury.  In Indiana, so long as the plaintiff was not more than 50% at fault, the plaintiff can recover for damages.  For example, if a jury finds the defendant 60% at fault and the plaintiff 40% at fault, the plaintiff will recover 60% of the total damages awarded.

When it comes to legal causation in personal injury cases, courts and juries must weigh all relevant evidence and ultimately decide whether the defendant’s actions more likely than not resulted in the harm suffered by the plaintiff. A strong understanding of both cause-in-fact and proximate cause, plus their application to personal injury cases, is essential for claimants who need to prove legal causation. If the injured victim can establish the necessary elements of legal causation, then they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.


Understanding legal causation can be a complex process, but it’s an essential part of personal injury law. By looking at all relevant evidence and applying the concepts of cause in fact and proximate cause, courts can determine whether a defendant’s actions or inactions more likely than not caused the plaintiff’s harm. This knowledge can go a long way towards helping someone successfully pursue a personal injury claim.

How to Move Forward if You Think You Have a Personal Injury Case

If you believe that you have experienced an injury due to someone else’s negligence or reckless or intentional behavior, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. First, seek medical attention to ensure that your health is taken care of. Then, gather and keep any documentation related to the incident, including incident reports, photographs, videos, witness statements, and medical records. Next, consult with an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer to evaluate the strength of your case and determine what legal actions may be necessary. It is best to hire an attorney right away so important information can be obtained and stored. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and advocate for yourself throughout the process. Remember, you have the right to pursue compensation for any damages or losses you have suffered as a result of your injury.

Are you ready to learn your eligibility for pursuing legal action against a negligent party and indirectly their insurance carrier that caused you or a loved one serious injuries? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free case evaluation with a seasoned personal injury attorney in Indianapolis. We represent victims all throughout the state of Indiana, including Indiana residents injured in other states.

Related Posts:

How to Prove Negligence in a Child Injury Case
How the Law Holds Property Owners Accountable for Negligence
An Overview of Indiana Negligence Laws

What are the Two Types of Causation in the Law?

According to Wikipedia.com, the legal concept of “causation” can be defined as “a means of connecting conduct with a resulting effect, typically an injury.” In the law, there are two separate types of causation: proximate cause and cause-in-fact. This concept is important in personal injury law since the top priority for every injury case is to prove that a defendant was negligent, and that their negligent actions caused a victim harm. However, a victim must be able to provide sufficient evident of both types of causation, as well as various other facts, in order to win their case.

Continue reading to learn more about proximate cause and cause-in-fact, and where to get free information regarding your potential injury claim.

Personal Injury Law Firm 317-881-2700

Personal Injury Law Firm


Also referred to as “actual cause”, cause-in-fact is the principle of showing evidence that proves a defendant’s actions “caused” a victim’s injuries, and ensuing damages and losses. For instance, if you were injured by a drunk driver while driving your vehicle, you would have to show evidence that proves their misconduct (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) was a direct cause of the accident, which subsequently caused your injuries.

To determine cause-in-fact, the “But-For” test is often used. Here is an example of how to apply the “But-For” test to the above scenario: “But for driving while intoxicated, the accident would not have taken place.”

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause is a complicated legal concept. Essentially, proximate cause exists if a victim’s injuries were foreseeable. It supports the notion that a defendant should have reasonably anticipated that their actions could cause a victim harm. Taking into consideration the above-mentioned example, a driver should have reasonably foreseen that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can cause an accident that injures another person.

Talk to an Accident Lawyer Today

If you were recently injured in an accident that was not your fault, it can help having a legal professional navigate your claim for you. To learn more about your potential injury claim, talk to a licensed Indianapolis accident lawyer as soon as possible, before the statutes of limitations runs out. They have the knowledge and resources to answer your questions about legal concepts and claim procedures, as well as, provide up-to-date information you can trust.

Indianapolis Personal Injury Representation

Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 when you need to make a personal injury claim in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here at our law firm, we are eager to help injured victims recover the full and fair compensation they deserve. We offer free initial consultations and never collect lawyer fees unless we win your claim. Contact us today to get started.

The Importance of Foreseeability Tests in Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

The burning question everyone wants to know after being involved in a serious accident or traumatic event is, “Whose fault was it?” This is where an experienced injury lawyer can help. They look at all the facts surrounding the accident and everyone involved, and study the evidence to proficiently determine the negligent party. From there, they work hard to secure the rights of their clients and recover ample compensation for their pain, suffering, and tangible losses.

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.


Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

The 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.

Personal Injury Attorney Indianapolis

Personal Injury Attorneys 317-881-2700

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