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What is 'cause in fact' in a Florida car accident?

In previous posts, this blog discussed the basic elements of a negligence action that might arise from an accident, as well as the concepts of duty and breach. While those posts were in the context of motorcycle accidents, negligence cases are very similar, even if other motor vehicle types are involved. That is, the elements necessary to prove that injuries suffered in an accident are the fault of another person's negligent actions don't change just because the accident involved two cars, or a truck and a car, rather than a motorcycle. So, in this installment we will take a very brief look at one of the important elements of negligence: 'cause in fact.'

Now it should be common sense to most Floridians that to hold someone responsible for injuries suffered in an accident, one should have to show that those injuries resulted from the accident. For example, someone with an injury suffered playing baseball two days before a car accident would not be able to claim that that problem was caused by the accident (though depending on the circumstances, an accident might have 'aggravated,' or made worse, such an injury).

However, for a victim to recover damages for injuries suffered in an accident, he or she will have to show that but for the breach of the duty owed by the defendant, the accident and, thus the injuries resulting from that accident, would not have happened. This is sometimes called 'direct' or 'but for' causation. For instance, an injured party might need to show that the accident was a direct result of a defendant running a red light.

It is important to note that this kind of causation is only one part of the causation analysis; indeed, it is the simpler part of causation in a negligence case. The other half of proving causation is what is called 'proximate cause,' which we may take up in a separate post. For now, however, those Florida residents with questions about whether they have a right to compensation due to a car accident, whether caused by a drunk driver or other negligent individual, may wish to consider contacting an experienced injury attorney.

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