Recovering Compensation after a Motorcycle Accident-Step Two
In an earlier blog, we looked at the first requirement to successfully recover damages after suffering injury in a motorcycle accident-the breach of the duty of care. It’s not enough, however, to show that a defendant ran a stop sign, veered into your lane or otherwise failed to act as a reasonable person. Once you’ve demonstrated breach of duty, you must next show that the breach “caused” an accident.
As the laws governing personal injury have evolved, two different types of cause have developed. Both must be shown before you have a right to recover for your losses.
The first type of cause-actual cause-is typically the easiest to prove. Also Known as “but for” cause, it simply requires that you show that the accident would not have happened “but for” or in the absence of the breach of duty. Often, unfortunately, it’s too easy to make a case for “but for” cause, even if the likelihood of the accident happening was minimal, based on the act of the defendant. For example, assume that a motorist runs a red light and hits a car. That car veers across the road and hits a fire hydrant. The water from the hydrant runs four blocks downhill and into the path of your motorcycle. You lose control of your bike and suffer an injury. There’s clearly “but for” cause-if the motorist had not run the red light, you would not have had a motorcycle accident.
This is where the second type of cause-proximate cause-comes into play. Proximate cause asks whether or not the event was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the wrongful act. In the example given here, was it reasonably foreseeable that water would run four blocks downhill and into your path? There’s no hard and fast legal principle, though, that determines what is “reasonably foreseeable.” That will ultimately be determined by a jury.
Contact the Law Office of Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of motorcycle accident victims in California for more than 30 years. To set up a free initial consultation, Send us an email or call our office at 1-866-288-6010.