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The Concept of “Proximate Cause” in Florida Personal Injury Claims

road1Every year, a number of people are hurt in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. Individuals who have been injured in a personal injury accident have the legal right to seek compensation for their harm from the party that caused the accident and resulting injuries. This is typically done through the plaintiff filing a negligence claim. Robert Dixon is a highly skilled Miami personal injury lawyer who understands what it takes to prevail on a negligence claim. The Law Offices of Robert Dixon has helped countless clients get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.

Negligence is the principle that individuals should take proper care when doing something. Specifically, an individual should use reasonable care in his or her actions or omissions so as not to cause foreseeable harm. In order to succeed on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant failed to exercise the required duty of care, the defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff incurred quantifiable damages.

Proximate cause is a legal term used to refer to direct cause. Put another way, proximate cause refers to an act that causes an injury as a natural and uninterrupted consequence, without which damage, injury, or destruction would not have occurred. The act and loss must be related with no other interference. Causation is a necessary element of a negligence claim, and it can often be tricky to prove.

In Sunbelt Environmental, Inc. v. Gulf Coast Truck & Equipment Company, Inc., a bicyclist was struck by a garbage truck that passed him on the street. The portion of the garbage truck that stuck the bicyclist was a tarp that made the vehicle illegally wide. The bicyclist was seriously injured and ultimately had to have his arm amputated as a result of the accident. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Sunbelt Environmental, Inc., and the parties settled before the issue went to trial.

Sunbelt Environmental, Inc. then sued the truck’s manufacturer, Gulf Coast Truck and Equipment Company and Wastequip Manufacturing Company, which had installed the tarp on the truck that had made the garbage truck too wide. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that it was the truck owner’s responsibility to make certain that the garbage truck complied with the law. The appellate court reversed the decision, ruling that the trial court failed to ascertain the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Specifically, the court noted that establishing proximate cause was a necessary precursor to establishing liability. Thus, the trial court should have examined whether factors such as the trucker’s driving, weather, the plaintiff’s clothing, and others could form proximate cause. Without determining proximate cause, the court said that liability cannot properly be decided.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to the reckless or careless driving of another, we can help. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, experienced Miami car accident attorney Robert Dixon can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our firm understands the nuances of negligence law. We will work diligently to investigate the facts of your case and do whatever it takes to get you in the most beneficial position possible. Call us today at our toll-free number at 1-877-499-HURT (4878), or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

More Blog Posts:

The Role of “Med Pay” in Florida Slip and Fall Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 21, 2014

Dealing with Tire Blowout Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 21, 2014

Train Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 10, 2014