Former State's Attorney With Over 35 Years of Experience
The law assumes that a person who causes harm and is of sound mind should have foreseen that his or her actions will result in harming the next person.
The concept of foreseeability places liability on a defendant whose actions lead to harming another person. Foreseeability is a difficult concept but one which the law uses to bring justice to people who have suffered as a direct consequence of the actions of others.
Understand the concept of foreseeability better and learn the different ways through which foreseeability can be argued. Further, we shall address the two categories of foreseeability and circumstances where the law provisions are an exception to liability.
Foreseeability is a legal concept that seeks to protect those who suffered personal harm as a consequence of the actions of others. When a person suffers an injury, the law expects that such a person needs to receive remedial action.
The law determines it to be fair that people who suffer personal injury get recourse. The court has to decide who to assign responsibility for the personal injury suffered.
Outside a few exceptional circumstances, such as a natural disaster or acts of God, any personal injury suffered is a defendant’s liability. The defendant can either be accused of having caused harm directly or indirectly.
The concept of foreseeability within the context of personal injury becomes relevant where the defendant’s actions caused the injury. The law assumes that the defendant understood, to a reasonable extent, that his or her actions could cause harm.
Under personal injury, you should note that the extent of the injury suffered is majorly irrelevant; as long as the harm was suffered, the law holds the defendant to the task.
Additionally, a lack of accurate estimation of the extent of harm that a defendant’s actions can cause is no defense; the law only looks to establish liability. The consequences associated with the liable party are to be determined later.
There are two major types of causes in injury cases. The first is cause-in-fact and the second proximate cause. Cause-in-fact is direct harm due to the action.
The defendant’s actions resulted in injury for a fact; if the defendant ad not engaged in the action, the harm would not have resulted. An example would be throwing a projectile at a person.
If the defendant had not thrown the projectile, the plaintiff would not have suffered harm or injury. The test for the cause-in-fact is called the but-for test. Essentially, the question posed is, “would harm have occurred but for the defendant’s action?”
Where such direct association between the action and the injury cannot be established, proximate cause is queried. Proximate cause is also called legal cause.
The main concern is whether the defendant’s actions can reasonably be blamed for the resultant injury. An example would be when a baseball bat thrown out of a window fell on a car resulting in the shattered glass injuring a passerby’s eye.
In this instance, the court would seek to establish whether there was enough cause to attribute the person’s eye injury to the action of throwing a bat out of the window. Proximate cause is an important element in foreseeability.
The question is whether the person is liable for engaging in an action that caused the plaintiff harm regardless of whether the action had a foreseeable result.
It is important to understand that the law expects the plaintiff to get compensated when evidence of the defendant’s breach of duty. Proximate harm is often not easy to persecute because of the complexity of possible causes.
In a personal injury case, the onus is on the prosecution to show that the defendant’s actions constitute a breach of duty of care or negligence and are reasonable to blame for the injury.
Another important concept under foreseeability is the so-called eggshell-skull concept. You take your victim as you find them. Therefore, you are liable for the damage you cause relative to how your victim was. An example would be running a headlight then hitting a pedestrian who suffers osteoporosis, causing multiple fractures.
Typically, the passenger would have suffered slight soft tissue injury, but their osteoporosis caused them to suffer multiple injuries. In this case, you will be liable for all the damage they suffered, even where their pre-existing condition exacerbated such damage.
Foreseeable results are not always foreseeable; you might not anticipate that your brakes would fail, hitting a road shoulder causing your tire to dislodge and break a cyclist’s leg, yet the law wants to hold you liable for negligence.
It might have been a new car, and you had no reasonable cause to suspect that the wheels were not fastened tightly; you did not neglect your duty of care, yet the law will pass the proximate cause to you.
Regardless a foreseeability test was conducted or not. The law wants to hold a legal party liable. It might make sense to you that actions you did not foresee as likely to cause harm causing harm will immediately attach negligence to your person. That is why you need the best personal injury attorneys you can find.
Legal help can help you determine whether you were negligent and caused the plaintiff harm.
Similarly, you deserve compensation if a tire dislodged from a vehicle and broke your leg, causing you injury and loss of income. The driver might have excellent legal help and can argue against the proximate cause case.
The driver’s lawyers might argue causation, for example. To get justice, you need experienced lawyers.
That is why we invite you to contact us with details of your case right now.