Challenging Superseding Cause Defenses in Injury Claims

If you sustained injuries in a recent accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you might be eligible to recover various monetary damages. For example, you may be able to recover damages for your related medical expenses, lost wages, inconvenience, pain, and suffering.

To be eligible for monetary compensation, you must be able to establish the legal elements of your personal injury claim. This is oftentimes an uphill battle, especially when dealing with a difficult insurance company or settlement adjuster. Insurance companies do everything in their power to try and undermine personal injury claims and pay accident victims as little compensation as possible. This is because insurance companies are big businesses, and the less money they have to pay an accident victim in damages, the more money they can keep in-house.

The private office of a young lawyer who is currently working on financial information in private banks.

In some instances, insurance companies try to escape liability by alleging that an unforeseeable, “superseding” cause brought about an accident – rather than their insured’s negligent actions or inactions. However, your lawyer may be able to challenge the insurance company’s superseding cause argument during your personal injury claim or lawsuit, helping you recover the full monetary damages you deserve.

The experienced Texas personal injury attorneys at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law can review the circumstances of your accident with you and help you establish the legal elements of your personal injury claim. We can then work to maximize the monetary compensation you recover by advocating for you during settlement negotiations or in court. Our legal team will do everything possible to help you recover the full compensation you deserve for all of your accident-related injuries.

For a free legal consultation and case evaluation, please give us a call or contact us online for more information.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim arises when another individual or entity commits a negligent act. A party is negligent when they behave in an unreasonable manner under the circumstances. Typically, a negligent party does something that a hypothetical “reasonable person” would not do in the same situation. Alternatively, a negligent party might fail to do something that a hypothetical “reasonable person” would have done under the same circumstances.

Personal injury claims and lawsuits typically result from accidents caused by others’ negligence. Some of the most common occurrences that lead to personal injury claims include the following:

  • Motor vehicle crashes, including car and truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and motorcycle accidents, where the negligent party violates a rule of the road, exhibits road rage, or engages in distracted or intoxicated driving.
  • Defective product malfunctions, where a product manufacturer or designer fails to take the necessary steps when assembling, constructing, or designing a product, causing it to explode or malfunction when a consumer uses it correctly
  • Premises accidents, where a property owner fails to take reasonable care of their property and warn about – or repair – a previously known or unknown hazard, causing a visitor to suffer injuries
  • Medical negligence or malpractice where a healthcare provider makes a mistake by performing a procedure incorrectly, performing the wrong procedure on a patient, misdiagnosing a patient, or failing to diagnose a patient’s medical condition
  • Workplace accidents, especially those that occur in the construction and building industries, where a third-party contractor, supervisor, or other responsible individual fails to properly supervise workers or maintain construction equipment, causing a worker to suffer an injury on the job

The experienced Texas personal injury attorneys at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law can discuss your accident with you and determine if you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. If you are, we can help you file your claim with the appropriate insurance company and guide you throughout the process.

What Types of Injuries do Accident Victims Suffer?

The injuries that an accident victim suffers typically depend upon the amount of force involved and the type of accident that occurs. For example, the force of a car crash might cause an accident victim’s body to move around inside their vehicle or strike something in their vehicle – like the steering wheel, window, door frame, dashboard, or headrest – causing a traumatic head injury.

At other times, accident victims may suffer soft tissue neck and back injuries, bone fractures, internal organ damage, rib fractures, open cuts, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis injuries.

If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from negligence, it is important that you seek prompt medical treatment right away. For example, you may need to follow up with your primary care doctor – or at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. The medical provider on duty can order imaging studies, including X-rays and MRIs, to properly diagnose your medical condition.

In addition to seeking the medical treatment you need, you should speak with a knowledgeable Texas personal injury attorney right away. At Cesar Ornelas Injury Law, we can begin investigating the circumstances of your accident and opening a timely personal injury claim on your behalf.

Who has the Burden of Proving a Personal Injury Claim?

In any personal injury claim or lawsuit, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. The at-fault party who caused the accident does not need to prove anything in the case.

To recover monetary damages, the accident victim must first demonstrate that the at-fault party owed them a duty of care that they violated. For example, in a car accident scenario, the accident victim must ordinarily demonstrate that the at-fault driver violated a rule of the road and that the accident occurred as a result.

In addition, the accident victim must establish the causation element of negligence. Therefore, the victim must demonstrate that their accident would not have occurred “but for” the other person’s negligence. Moreover, the victim must demonstrate that the subject accident was a foreseeable consequence of the at-fault party’s negligent actions or inactions.

Finally, the accident victim must show that they suffered at least one physical injury in their accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.

To prove these legal elements, your lawyer may need to introduce expert testimony on your behalf. For example, your attorney could retain an accident reconstructionist to piece together how the accident happened after speaking with witnesses, visiting the accident scene, looking at photographs, and reviewing investigation reports.

Your lawyer may also need to retain a medical expert who can causally connect your injuries to the accident. A medical expert might also be able to establish that your injury or injuries are permanent, meaning that they are unlikely to get better with time. 

Intervening versus Superseding Accident Causes 

To recover monetary damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the accident victim must be able to show “but for” causation, as well as foreseeability.

In some instances, intervening and superseding causes come into play when an accident victim files a personal injury claim. An intervening cause occurs between the time of the at-fault individual’s negligent actions or inactions and the accident which causes injuries. In cases where an intervening cause would be foreseeable to a “reasonable person,” the at-fault party cannot use this defense to escape liability for the accident. However, if the intervening cause was not foreseeable to a “reasonable person,” it may allow the original at-fault party to escape liability for the accident.

A common example of intervening and superseding causes occurs in the context of traffic accidents. If Driver One — who was intoxicated — rear-ended another driver in busy highway traffic, Driver One would ordinarily be responsible for the resulting injuries and damages. However, if Driver One merely tapped the other driver’s vehicle and caused that driver to lose control, Driver Two may come along from the opposite direction and cause a second crash. 

In that incident, Driver One may raise a superseding cause defense, alleging that Driver Two was the true cause of the accident and the victim’s injuries. However, in that instance, the superseding cause defense would not work, since Driver One’s drunk driving — and the accident victim’s subsequent loss of control over their vehicle — are foreseeable and would be likely to cause an accident and injuries.

In a complex accident scenario, our legal team could help you determine if you are eligible to challenge the at-fault party’s superseding cause defense in your personal injury claim or lawsuit. If so, we can introduce the appropriate evidence and make the proper arguments at your civil jury trial.

Contact an Experienced Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you sustained injuries in a recent accident that occurred because of another person’s negligence, you have legal rights and options available. At Cesar Ornelas Injury Law, our legal team can go over your options with you and help you chart the best course of action for your case.

If the insurance company raises a superseding cause defense to your personal injury claim, we could help you challenge that defense and pursue the monetary damages you deserve, including compensation for your related medical expenses, lost earnings, mental distress, pain and suffering, and loss of life enjoyment stemming from your accident. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation, please call or contact us online to find out more.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at: (855) 930-1149

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