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Tag Archives: causation

The Importance of Causation in Legal Malpractice

By Robert Ross |

CAUSATION IS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM The elements of a prima facie claim for legal malpractice are: — the existence of a duty; — the breach of that duty; — damages (suffered by the claimant); and — causation (specifically, the breach of the relevant duty must be the cause of… Read More »

Understanding “Causation” in Negligence Cases

By Robert Ross |

NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS HAVE FOUR PRIMARY ELEMENTS To prevail on a claim for negligence, an injured plaintiff must prove all four of the basic elements of the claim: 1.  The existence of a legally-recognized duty the defendant owed to the plaintiff (or, in some cases, to the public at large – of which the plaintiff… Read More »

What Does it Mean to Legally “Cause” an Injury?

By Robert Ross |

CAUSATION IS A MANDATORY ELEMENT OF NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS In order to prevail on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove causation — a legally-recognized causal relationship between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. Causation is a mandatory element of a negligence claim, which means that if the plaintiff cannot prove it to… Read More »

Showing “Causation” in Premises Liability Cases

By Robert Ross |

CAUSATION IS A MANDATORY ELEMENT OF A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM. Like most negligence causes of action, premises liability claims require a plaintiff to prove four basic elements: 1. The existence of a duty on the part of the defendant (generally, a property owner, but also sometimes a person or entity in possession or control of land). 2. The defendant’s breach… Read More »

When is the Lawyer’s Conduct NOT the Cause of the Plaintiff’s Damages?

By Robert Ross |

NOT ALL WRONGFUL ACTIONS CONSTITUTE ACTIONABLE MALPRACTICE Losing a lawsuit is stressful, and plaintiffs often want to hold “someone” responsible for the loss. However, losing a lawsuit (without more) is not malpractice, and even if an attorney did act improperly in the course of representation, not every wrongful act or error constitutes actionable malpractice. Similarly,… Read More »

The “But For” Test for Causation in Legal Malpractice

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS THE “BUT FOR” TEST? The “But for” test is one of the two legal standards for proving causation in legal malpractice cases. This test requires the plaintiff to prove the defendant attorney’s negligent actions (or advice) actually caused the plaintiff to suffer damages or harm. Essentially, the plaintiff uses the facts of… Read More »

Causation in Legal Malpractice: the “Substantial Factor” Test

By Robert Ross |

Generally speaking, the test for causation in legal malpractice requires the plaintiff to prove that the plaintiff’s damages would not have occurred “but for” the attorney’s breach of a recognized legal duty. This is commonly known as the “but for” test. However, real world situations don’t operate in a vacuum, and sometimes a plaintiff’s… Read More »

“Causation” in Legal Malpractice: Litigation vs. Transactional Issues

By Robert Ross |

The plaintiff in a legal malpractice action generally bears the burden of proving that the lawyer’s professional negligence was the cause of the client’s damages. With some exceptions, the client must prove causation with legally admissible evidence or there plaintiff’s malpractice suit cannot prevail. The manner in which a client proves causation differs somewhat if… Read More »

Exploring Causation in Legal Malpractice: Actual Cause

By Robert Ross |

The primary test for causation in a legal malpractice/professional negligence case is known as the “but for” test. Under the “but for” test, the plaintiff must prove, with admissible evidence, that the lawyer’s breach of a legally recognized duty (owed to the plaintiff) was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s legally recognized damages.  In… Read More »

Causation in Attorney Negligence: Proving “Fault”

By Robert Ross |

A plaintiff client cannot win a lawsuit for attorney negligence without proving that the attorney’s alleged malpractice was the “legal cause” of the plaintiff’s damages, loss, or injury. Unless the (former) client proves causation as a matter of law, a malpractice actions cannot prevail. Today’s “Malpractice Monday” focuses on this critical element, and how… Read More »

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