As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you have the duty to establish the defendant was responsible for causing the accident or incident in question. This is one of the required legal elements of a negligence claim. If you cannot prove the link between the defendant’s actions and the accident, you cannot recover compensation for your losses. 

Here is what you need to know about establishing causation in a Texas personal injury case:

Types of Causation 

Types of Causation

There are two types of causation that you must prove in a Texas personal injury case: actual cause and proximate cause. You must be able to prove both to win your case. 

Actual Cause 

Actual cause or cause in fact considers whether the defendant’s actions actually caused your injuries

Texas criminal law describes causation as when “the result would not have occurred but for” the defendant’s conduct. Civil law uses a similar “but-for” test. Basically, if the accident would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions, these actions are considered the actual cause of the accident. 

For example, say you are traveling straight through a green light when you are suddenly blindsided by a driver who ran a red light. The collision would not have happened but for the driver running the red light. If they had stopped like they were supposed to, you could have avoided the collision and your resulting injuries. 

Proximate Cause 

Proximate cause is a little trickier and deals with the degrees of separation between the defendant’s actions and the accident. Generally, the closer the relationship between the defendant’s actions and the accident, the more likely it is that their actions will be determined to be the proximate cause. 

There may be several potential causes for an accident to occur. For example, it’s technically true that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant had not been born or vehicles had not been invented. 

It wouldn’t make sense to hold the defendant’s mother responsible for the crash (even though it’s true that “but for” her giving birth to the driver, the crash wouldn’t have happened). That’s why proximate cause exists.

A proximate cause is an actual cause that is legally sufficient to support liability. The law does not attach liability to all actors or acts related to a crash. Instead, it focuses on the direct connection between the actions and the accident. 

The law considers the foreseeability of the injuries. Would the red light runner know that it was possible that they could cause injury if they ran the red light? Probably. Therefore, they can be held responsible for the injuries that are the natural consequence of their actions. 

Proving Causation 

Proving causation comes down to having evidence that is strong enough to meet your bar of the preponderance of the evidence, meaning evidence that is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition to it. 

You may be able to prove causation by showing that the defendant’s actions or inactions caused the injury. You may have evidence to support your case, such as:

  • Accident reports
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene
  • Your testimony
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Event data recorder information
  • Maintenance records
  • Personnel records
  • Bills of lading
  • Cell phone records
  • Medical records

In cases where causation may be in question, an attorney may hire an accident reconstruction expert to take available data and create visual simulations that explain the most likely cause of the accident.

What Other Elements Do I Have To Prove in a Personal Injury Case

In addition to proving causation, you must be able to prove the following legal elements to win personal injury damages:

Duty of Care 

The first legal element you must be able to establish is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Different parties may owe different duties of care based on their relationship with potential plaintiffs. 

For example, doctors owe their patients a duty to provide them with the same standard of care another doctor with similar training and experience would. Motorists owe other drivers a duty to follow the rules of the road and avoid collisions.

Breach of Duty 

Next, you must be able to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, motorists may breach their duty of care by:

Violating a traffic law is generally considered breaching a duty of care.


After proving causation or the link between the breach of duty and the accident, you must be able to prove that you were injured in some way for which the court can compensate you. For example, you may have suffered:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress
  • Mental anguish 
  • Permanent disability
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 

Your personal injury lawyer can gather evidence to help you establish all of the above legal elements. 

Schedule Your Free Case Review With an Experienced Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden. Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers. can help you prove each element of your claim, including causation. Call us today at (956) 529-7336 or contact us online for your free, no-obligation case review.