How Does “Proximate Cause” Affect My Personal Injury Case?
In any personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent. More importantly, the defendant’s negligence must be the “proximate cause” of the plaintiff’s injuries. A jury will not award damages if the there is not a direct link between the defendant’s actions (or inactions) and the plaintiff’s losses.
Jury Rejects Unleashed Dog as Cause of Woman’s Injuries
A Fairfield-area woman recently learned this lesson in a case involving an animal attack. The plaintiff was walking her three dogs one evening in front of a neighbor’s house. While the plaintiff was cleaning up after one of the dogs, the neighbor’s dog came outside into the yard.
This provoked the plaintiff’s dogs, who started to chase the defendant’s dog around the yard. Pulled by the combined weight of her own dogs, the plaintiff fell to the ground and sustained injuries. She subsequently sued her neighbors, claiming their failure to keep their dog leashed was the “proximate cause” of her injuries. (Connecticut law holds dog owners liable for injuries caused to other people by their animal.)
The jury did not see it that way and returned a verdict for the defendants. The Appellate Court of Connecticut affirmed that decision. The court noted the plaintiff provided no evidence to corroborate her own testimony that the defendants’ dog caused her injuries. The jury, the court said, was entitled to “discredit” that testimony, which it apparently did. And as a rule, appeals courts do not second-guess a jury’s decisions regarding the credibility of witnesses.
Get Help From a New London Personal Injury Attorney
Whether it involves an animal attack or a car accident, it is important to go into court with as much evidence as possible to support your personal injury claim. As the case above illustrates, simply asking a jury to “take your word for it” may not be sufficient, especially when it comes to proving causation. You need to make it clear the only reason you suffered an injury was the defendant’s negligence.
The first step in making your case is hiring an experienced Waterford-New London personal injury attorney who can go over your claim and help you gather the evidence you will need in court.