In Arizona personal injury cases, a defendant can be held liable for another’s injuries if the accident would not have occurred without the defendant’s negligent act. However, there are ways a defendant may try and escape liability. One such way is by arguing there was a superseding incident caused by another person that also contributed to the injury. A superseding cause is an intervening act that the law considers sufficient enough to override the initial negligence and exonerate that person from liability.
In a recent case discussing superseding causation, a state appellate court was recently tasked with determining whether a bar could be held liable for over-serving a man who later got into a car accident, even though he went home and took a nap before getting into the wreck. In many states, including Arizona, a bar can be held responsible for the actions of a patron after they have left the bar if they did not stop them from driving while intoxicated. The bar tried to argue that going home and taking a nap constituted a superseding cause, while the plaintiff, the person injured in the car accident, claimed that the bar was still at fault. The court ultimately ruled that going home was a superseding cause that relieved the bar of liability for the accident.