If you were involved in a car accident in Virginia, an at-fault state, you can file a personal injury claim against the parties at fault for your accident to recover medical expenses and other damages. Many of these personal injury claims are based on driver negligence, which requires victims to establish the following:
- Duty: At-fault motorist owed victim a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
- Breach of duty: At-fault motorist breached the duty owed to victim by operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner (failing to follow traffic laws).
- Causation: At-fault motorist’s breach of duty caused the accident and victim’s injuries.
- Damages: Victim suffered injuries and damages as a result of the accident.
Of these four elements, the most difficult one to establish is often causation. There are two types of causation: proximate causation and actual causation.
- Proximate causation: Legal cause of the accident (driver’s negligence resulted in reasonably foreseeable accident).
- Actual causation: Cause-in-fact or actual cause of the accident (the accident would not have occurred but for the driver’s negligence).
Expert testimony from physicians, accident reconstructionists, and other professionals can be the best way to establish both types of causation. These experts can link the driver’s negligence to the accident and the injuries you suffered. For example, an orthopedic surgeon may testify that the whiplash injury suffered by the victim is common in rear-end collisions and that the victim’s recommended treatment is reasonable.
Establishing causation is difficult, but essential, to successfully proving a claim of negligence after a car accident. Fortunately, you can leave your case in the hands of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help gather and present the evidence needed to prove all four elements and help you recover the compensation you deserve.