The Effect of Unforeseeable Causes in Washington D.C Personal Injury Lawsuits

In Washington D.C., injury victims may be able to recover for their damages if they can establish that their injuries were the result of another’s negligence. Lawsuits based on another’s negligence are appropriate when the accident victim can prove that the other party’s negligent action or inaction caused their injuries. Favorable outcomes are only possible when the victim successfully meets the following four elements of a Washington D.C personal injury action: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The first two elements require the victim to prove that the other party owed them a duty to act responsibly, and that they breached this duty. Victims often face challenges when they reach the causation element.

In Washington D.C., plaintiffs must prove that the defendant’s actions were either the cause-in-fact or proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Cause-in-fact is when the injury would not have occurred but-for some action of the defendant. Whereas, proximate cause is a legal theory where the plaintiff argues that the defendant engaged in some action that set in motion the sequence of events that ultimately led to the plaintiff’s injury.

Proximate cause is broken down into two further elements; policy, and cause-in-fact. Washington, D.C specified these two distinctions in an attempt to limit a defendant’s responsibility. Most frequently, the defense occurs in instances where a defendant claims that the chain of events that led to the plaintiff’s injuries was unforeseeable or extraordinary.

For example, a state appellate court recently published an opinion in a personal injury lawsuit that was appealed based on intervening causes. According to the court’s opinion, a truck driver suffered severe injuries after a car-jacker attacked him. The truck driver rented a space to park his truck while he was awaiting a freight delivery. The driver parked his vehicle in the rented space and fell asleep. He awoke when he heard someone trying to pry his door open. When the car-jacker noticed that the truck had driver spotted him, he drove the truck away, causing the truck driver’s head to collide with fixed objects along the road. The driver later flew out of the car because of the car-jacker’s erratic driving. The car-jacker then ran over the driver multiple times, causing severe and debilitating injuries.

The truck driver filed a lawsuit against the parking facility alleging that the facility breached their duty by not ensuring the driver’s safety while he was parked in the rented space. The facility argued that his injuries were the result of an unforeseeable intervening cause and they should not face liability based on the burglar’s actions. The truck driver provided evidence that the purpose of this facility was to give drivers a safe place to rest and await shipments. Moreover, the truck driver argued that the facility was aware of similar crimes on-site, and they were supposed to have security to prevent these crimes. Ultimately, the court agreed that the defendant breached its duty to the plaintiff and that they could not successfully defend their case based on unforeseeable cause doctrine.

Have You Suffered Injuries as a Result of Another’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries because of another’s negligence, you should contact the dedicated and experienced attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The Washington D.C. car accident attorneys at the law firm have extensive experience handling complex personal injury lawsuits and can help you get the damages you deserve. Many people do not understand the challenges that Washington D.C. motor vehicle accident lawsuits entail, and it is crucial to have a knowledgeable attorney represent you throughout the process. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the damages you suffered. Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen at 800-654-1949 to schedule your free consultation.

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