Legal causation in Wisconsin is provided for on the WKC-16B form in Questions 11, 12 and 13. Question 11 deals with direct causation of a new injury or the definite breakage of a pre-existing condition. Question 12 addresses an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, which the Lewellyn case explains in category 3 below:
Causation in car accident cases is defined in Wisconsin civil jury instruction 1500:
In a Wisconsin MVA settlement case, what damages causation is composed of two concepts: (1) cause in fact and (2) public-policy considerations. See Morgan v. Pennsylvania Gen. Ins. Co., 87 Wis. 2d 723 (1979). Once a breach of duty is established, the defendant's wrong is the cause in fact of all consequences, both foreseen and unforeseen, for which the wrong is a substantial factor producing the injury. Pfeifer, 262 Wis. at 235-36; A.E. Inv. Corp., 62 Wis. 2d at 484. Note that there may be more than one substantial factor causing a party's loss, that is, there may be more than one cause in fact. Morgan, 87 Wis. 2d at 735. The defendant is liable for damages that are a natural consequence of the wrong, even though the defendant did not intend or foresee such damages. However, the court can still prohibit recovery on public policy reasons if the damages are just too remote from the negligent conduct. See Rockweit v. Senecal, 197 Wis. 2d 409 (1995).
An ironworker workers comp claim causation can come from a single traumatic accident or lifting incident. For example where an ironworker helps lift some rebar, feels immediate low back pain, perhaps shooting pain down the leg. More likely though, ironworkers work through many days of low back pain until one day it causes the ironworker to see a doctor. In ironworker workers comp cases without a clear single incident, we make what is called an occupational claim. In an occupational claim we prove that the ironworker's job duties over time contributed to his low back deterioration and present condition and possible back surgery.
Causation determines who gets workers compensation benefits. In Wisconsin workers compensation benefits are paid in when an employee suffers an injury arising out of employment. Wis. Stats. Sec 102.01. The injury can be physical or mental, and can be caused by single traumatic accident or from job duties or occupational exposure over time. To qualify as a traumatic injury, a doctor must give an opinion that the work accident directly caused the injury. Many employees have pre-existing conditions which can be work-related. A traumatic accident can be the source of workers compensation benefits if the pre-existing condition was precipitated, aggravated and accelerated beyond normal progression by the incident. For an occupational condition or disease to be subject to workers compensation benefits, the employment job duties or environment must be either the sole cause of the condition, or at least a material contributory causative factor in the condition's onset or progression?