In a personal injury case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that their injury was caused by the defendant's negligence. To prove this, you must be able to show that the person who injured you had a duty to exercise care, that they neglected that duty, and that neglect caused your injury.
Proximate cause is the legal term for the cause of the injury. It's used to determine if the cause of the injury can be held liable for the accident or pay damages. If there is an individual who is liable, then the next step is to see if that person could have foreseen the circumstances that caused you to be injured.
If the harm is foreseeable, then the person who injured you could be held liable, even if the manner of the injury was not, or even if the severity of the injury was not foreseeable. For example, if the weather turned cold and the sidewalk outside of a shop iced up, a reasonable person would likely throw out salt or put up a sign warning of the icy conditions to prevent customers from falling on the property.
If a shop owner doesn't take this action and a customer slips and falls, breaking their hip, because it was an elderly customer, then the ice is the proximate cause of the accident, but the shopkeeper is liable for not mitigating the danger of the ice, which a reasonable person would do.
At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.