A major part of any injury lawsuit is proving causation. That is, showing to a jury that someone’s negligence is what actually caused the victim’s injury, and not some other force or cause. It may seem like this is an easy bar to meet, but causation is often the most difficult part of a lawsuit. In many cases, proving causation may even require in-depth medical testimony to show that injuries are the result of the accident.
Causation can be Difficult to Prove
Sometimes causation is easy to prove. Take, for example, a rear end car accident where the victim is an otherwise healthy young athlete. There is often little doubt the car that hit the victim from behind caused the accident. Because the victim is healthy, there is little doubt that whatever injuries the victim is complaining of stemmed from the accident.
Of course, not all injury cases are that simple. In many cases, a defendant who is being sued for negligence will defend by saying that the victim’s injuries in fact predated the accident, or that the injuries were caused by some other factor.
For example, a defendant may say that the victim’s back injury is the result of a prior accident or injury from many years before the accident, or that it is simply the result of the natural process of aging.
Medical Science May Even be Uncertain
What makes causation is difficult is that in many cases, medical science does not yet know how certain injuries affect the body. Take traumatic brain injury (TBI): We have long known that TBI can cause memory loss, attitude changes, confusion, depression, and other cognitive changes in the brain. Certainly a jury in trial should hear about those symptoms, and be able to put a value on them.
But recent medical studies show that TBI can also affect the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Evidence shows that those with TBI have a higher rate of infections in the GI tract. The relationship has to do with brain inflammation, and similarity in the types of cells that exist in the brain and the gut.
Using Medicine in Trial
So, why would such a seemingly obscure finding be of interest to a personal injury lawyer? Because if a client has sustained a TBI, and is also having GI problems, a defendant is likely to deny that the GI problems have anything to do with the accident. In fact, most laypeople sitting on a jury would have a hard time finding that a victim’s GI infections that have happened routinely since his or her accident, are actually caused by the accident, just because the victim has suffered TBI.
This is why it is important to be on the cutting edge of the science of human injury. Doing so ensures that a victim gets compensation for every problem, ailment, or symptom caused by the accident. That includes those symptoms that the victim may not even be aware have a relationship to the injuries he or she has sustained.
If you are injured, make sure your attorneys understand the science needed to prove your case. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your accident.