When someone is injured due to a party’s negligence or carelessness, it is up to the insured person to prove that negligence caused the accident. However, proving negligence can be complicated. Sometimes more than one person is at fault or a third party.
What is an Intervening Cause?
In a personal injury case, an intervening cause is something that happens after the defendant’s negligence that worsens the plaintiff’s injury. The critical point is that the intervening cause must occur “after” the negligence which caused the injury.
It’s important to note that an intervening cause can be something another person does or attributed to an act of nature, such as a weather-related event (icy roads, etc.). When this occurs, the negligent party will be held partially responsible for the injury.
For example: Imagine a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle because the driver was looking at their phone. While the pedestrian is injured, the situation escalates when a passerby, trying to offer assistance, incorrectly moves the pedestrian. This ill-advised action results in a severe spinal injury. This act by the passerby is an intervening cause—it took place after the driver’s initial distraction and significantly worsened the pedestrian’s injuries.
What is a Superseding Cause?
A superseding cause is when another event occurs simultaneously or just before the accident. The liability or negligence for the accident might be attributed to a particular source, but with a superseding cause, it may remove the person’s or company’s liability altogether. In the legal arena, a superseding cause is a powerful defense against liability.
For example: A superseding cause would be warning labels on products. If the consumer removes them and ignores the warning and is injured, if they sue the manufacturer, the defendant’s lawyer could argue that a superseding cause was the consumer removing the warning labels and not following the proper use instructions.
What is a Proximate Cause?
Proximate cause in a personal injury case refers to the legal cause of the accident that caused the injury. In simple personal injury cases where the actions of one person directly cause an accident and injury for another, this is a proximate cause.
The injured person must prove negligence and that the actions of the company or other person caused them to become injured and that without the negligence, it would never have occurred.
For example: Imagine a driver texting while driving and consequently running a red light, leading to a collision with another vehicle. The act of texting and not paying attention is the proximate cause of the accident because it is the primary action that led to the injury of the other driver.
The Difference Between Intervening and Superseding Causes
The major difference between an intervening cause and a superseding cause is that a superseding cause may eliminate liability during a defense, whereas an intervening cause will not. It may, however, lessen the amount of responsibility but will not remove it altogether. Superseding causes the transfer of the blame to another party or a natural event.
Personal Injury Cases with Superseding and Intervening Causes
Personal injury cases are often challenging to prove. When they include superseding or intervening causes, it becomes even more complex. Before filing a personal injury claim, it’s essential to discuss your case with an experienced attorney who knows the regional laws and can help you win your case. Contact Neufeld Law Firm today for help with your personal injury case. We are highly trained lawyers who specialize in these types of issues, and we want to help you!
Need legal assistance? Call Neufeld Law Firm at 305-404-6589 for a free consultation. Our specialized personal injury lawyers are here to help you now.