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Personal Injury Lawsuit 101: Foreseeability

Posted on September 17, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

The cornerstone of a personal injury lawsuit is proving that the other party is liable for the injuries that you have sustained. In short, it is showing the court that the other party’s action (or inaction) was the one that directly caused the injury. As such, this erring party will be ordered by the court to pay you for your financial loss, as well as for the pain and suffering you had to endure.

In your lawsuit, you must prove that the other party has a duty of care to you because of your relationship. These relationships include employer-employee relationships, business entity-customer relationship, manufacturer-purchaser relationship, property owner-guest/invitee relationship, or doctor-patient relationship. For instance, a restaurant owes its customers a duty of care of ensuring that the food served is safe for consumption. A doctor owes his patients a duty of care where his treatments will not cause his patients harm. Manufacturers are expected to provide products that will be benefit (and not injure) the users of their products.

Next, it should be shown that there was a breach of that duty, and that the other party should know or should have known that such a breach of duty was putting you at risk for injury. This is called the principle of foreseeability. This will prove whether there is proximate cause – that the party being sued caused the injury because he should have reasonably foreseen what could happen due to his conduct.

You, as the complainant, should show that the causal chain of events that began with the other party’s breach of duty of care and ended with you being injured is something that is reasonably expected to happen (foreseeable). For instance, it can reasonably be expected that if one ran a red light, he may collide with other cars. It is also reasonably expected that if you leave a wet floor unattended, someone might slip and fall.

Foreseeability and How it Affects Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

The other party’s liability will depend on how foreseeable the injury (and harm) is, as well as the manner of the harm. Based on the foreseeability of the harm, it can be determined whether the other party is indeed negligent.

The Type of Harm was not a foreseeable result of the negligent act. One landmark example would be the Palsgraf vs. Long Island Railroad case. As a train conductor was helping someone aboard, he inadvertently pushed a man who was carrying a package covered in brown paper. This package contained fireworks, which exploded after being dropped. Due to the explosion, some scales dropped. Mr. Palsgraf, who was standing near the scales, was injured. The court ruled that the injury was not a foreseeable result of the conductor’s pushing the man with the package. It could not be reasonably expected that the brown paper bag contained fireworks, and the resulting explosion will displace the scales. In this case, someone who causes harm and injury to another will not be responsible for that harm if the type of harm is not a foreseeable result of his actions.

The way the harm was done was unforeseeable. If in between a person’s act of negligence and the harm, something else happens that results in the harm, this is called a superseding cause. A person is not held liable if the superseding cause is not foreseeable. This includes storms, earthquakes and other acts of God, as well as criminal acts done by other persons. For instance, someone driving a car crashed into a tree, causing its roots to weaken. That tree is later hit by lightning and subsequently falls and injures another person. The driver is no longer liable for the injuries because the tree’s being hit by lightning is something that is not foreseeable.

The degree of harm suffered was unforeseeable. This is where the Eggshell Skull principle comes in. This principle states that when an erring party causes an injury, he is fully responsible for the extent of that injury. The eggshell skull principle is used to illustrate a person walking around with an “eggshell skull” but looks normal and just like any other healthy person. If someone harms him and, because of his vulnerability, he is seriously injured, even though the same incident would be simply brushed off by a person in good health.

Finding Help For Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

As you can see, proving a personal injury lawsuit is a bit complicated. However, if you have a strong case, you need not worry. You just need to wait it out until you can see the settlement through. While you’re waiting for the lawsuit to settle, you can think about getting lawsuit funding to help you with your pressing financial obligations.

The lawsuit cash advance can be used not just to help bolster your case by collecting more evidence that the negligence had foreseeable consequences. It can also be used to fund your day-to-day needs, as well as your hospital bills.

The good thing about lawsuit loans is that it is non-recourse funding. Unlike a loan, you don’t have to present your employment history or your credit rating. What is important is that you have a strong case. Also, you won’t have to pay back the loan if the lawsuit, for some reason, fails to settle. With reputable lawsuit funding providers such as, you can rest assured that you can quickly get access to cash in as quickly as 24 hours after your application is approved.

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