Innocent Until Proven Guilty: Explaining the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case
Terms like “burden of proof,” “preponderance of evidence” or “reasonable person standard” can seem very confusing if you didn’t go to law school. After being injured in a personal injury accident, these are common terms you may hear your attorney mention. While it is your legal team’s responsibility to explain any complicated legal jargon to you, it’s important to have some understanding of these types of terms. Then, you won’t be blindsided if someone from the opposing counsel brings these up to you.
Here are the main points to know about the burden of proof in a personal injury case.
What Is the Burden of Proof?
The burden of proof is an important legal term that is extremely important in a personal injury case. To put it plainly, the party filing the injury or damages claim has the burden or duty to prove to the jury that the other party is responsible for what happened, and therefore should be financially responsible for recouping their losses.
Your attorney will provide facts, also called, “evidence” to prove that your opponent was negligent, and should pay damages. This means you need to select an attorney who is experienced in jury trials and be clear and convincing to jurors. Clear and convincing evidence needs to be presented. Otherwise, you may miss out on your due financial compensation.
What Needs to Be Proven?
It’s not enough to simply show that an injury has occurred. Your attorney needs to prove that it was the negligence of the other party that caused your injury. Experienced attorneys also show the full extent of your damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care needs
- Lost income for missing work
- Loss of future earnings due to injury
- Property damage
The purpose of recovering damages is to reimburse victims for all of their financial losses. It is also meant to compensate for any future damages, like loss of consortium if a spouse or parent were killed in a personal injury accident. A wrongful death case can be difficult to prove, which is why evidence and a strong argument are so vital. Your lawyer needs to present evidence strong enough to prove guilt in order to win a personal injury lawsuit. This is why hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is so important.
The “More Likely Than Not” Standard
In a personal injury case, you may have heard the term, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a term that applies to criminal cases, and it’s a very high standard. Since someone’s freedom is at stake, it’s very important. This term is used when the evidence presented is so strong that there are no other reasonable explanation other than the evidence already shown. Personal injuries from acts of assault or malpractice typically fall under this umbrella.
In civil cases, where a car accident, truck, accident, Uber accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, or other vehicle accident occurred, the standard is often “more likely than not.” This is a lower standard, but it still requires the skill of an experienced law firm to put on a case in an organized and convincing manner.
This standard means that your attorney must prove to the jury that the other party “more likely than not” caused the damages you suffered, and must now pay.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury cases arise from all sorts of everyday activities. Don’t assume that an injury you suffered was simply an accident. If you’ve suffered lost time at work, medical expenses, and a lengthy recovery, you need to hold anyone negligent responsible. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury cases.
Car and Motorcycle Accidents
Some accidents are purely just bad luck, many are due to drivers speeding, driving aggressively, and being distracted. If you were injured in this type of accident, you can hold the other driver responsible for your damages.
Most truck drivers are safe and responsible. However, some drive too fast trying to meet deadlines. They may not have rested for the legally required time in between long drives. The damage caused by a large 18-wheeler can be devastating. The driver and even the company they work for can be held liable.
Any injuries that occur in a store, place of business, or even residence of another person that is from negligence can give rise to a personal injury case.
Injuries on the job that are work-related are usually covered under the worker’s compensation law. If they are due to negligence, you’ll want to consult an attorney to make sure your damages are paid for.
When products are incorrectly manufactured, they can cause injury and damages that can be recovered.
Hiring the Right Attorney
Hiring a team of attorneys that can secure the burden of proof for your case is imperative. Whether it’s for a criminal case, a civil case, or a civil lawsuit, an experienced lawyer may be able to alleviate your legal stress. Experience is a necessary qualification when choosing a law firm to represent your personal injury case.
The most common issue we hear from clients is their lack of understanding if they had a case worth pursuing. Consulting with our law firm can help you determine just that. We can help you determine if your injury was due to the negligence of an individual or business, even more so, given your case, we will work to prove negligence on all responsible parties.