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What is 'proximate cause' in a Florida motorcycle accident?

This blog has previously discussed the fact that the most common form of lawsuit used to attempt to recover damages for injury done in a motorcycle or other motor vehicle accident is one based in negligence. We've touched on the basic elements of a Florida negligence claim, and taken a look at some of those elements, such as 'duty,' 'breach,' and 'cause-in-fact.' As was mentioned in an earlier piece, however there is another element to causation in negligence cases. This is what is known as 'proximate cause.'

Readers may remember that cause-in-fact asks the question "did the breach of a legal duty actually cause the injury" in a particular case. In most instances, this will be fairly straight forward in motorcycle accidents, as any injuries or damage are usually the direct result of a collision. Proximate cause is somewhat different, however, as it asks whether the injuries from the accident were a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the negligent behavior.

What does this mean? Well, again, in many cases, the answers may be obvious. Failure to yield when the rules of the road require it, for example, may be seen as foreseeably causing a vehicle to crash into another vehicle that is expecting the first vehicle to yield right of way. However, there may be circumstances when proximate cause is not as easy to ascertain. Is stopping suddenly in the road to avoid hitting a turtle the proximate cause of an injuries suffered when a motorcycle behind the stopping car swerves and hits a street sign in the median? Is this type of harm a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the driver's behavior? Possibly. What if the motorcycle following the car doesn't hit anything, but the sudden stop causes unseen damage to the motorcycle's wheel, which comes off an hour later causing a crash that injures the rider?

As can be seen, the element of proximate cause can become quite complicated in certain instances. It should also be remembered that causation is only one element that needs to be considered when contemplating a negligence claim for injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident. Those who wish more information about such claims may wish to think about contacting an experienced Florida injury attorney.

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