To prevail in a personal injury suit, one requirement a plaintiff bears is proving that the defendant's conduct was a substantial factor in causing of the events which produced the plaintiff's injury. Essentially, a plaintiff need demonstrate that the risk of injury from the defendant's conduct was foreseeable. Without the foreseeability that a defendant's actions could harm someone, there cannot be a duty owed by the defendant to that person, and therefore no negligence for which to impose liability.
A plaintiff need not, however, demonstrate the precise manner in which the accident occurred, or the extent of the injuries, was foreseeable. In analyzing whether the consequences of the defendant's actions were foreseeable, a judge will determine whether "reasonable foresight" would dictate that the defendant's actions were a substantial cause in bringing about the plaintiff's injuries.
The general rule is that an intervening act which is a normal consequence of the situation created by the defendant, cannot constitute a superseding cause absolving the defendant from liability. In fact, an intervening act will be deemed a superseding cause, relieving the defendant of liability only when the act is of such an extraordinary nature or so attenuates defendant's negligence from the ultimate injury that responsibility for the injury may not be reasonably attributed to the defendant.
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident due to someone else negligence, contact our office for a free consultation.