How to Prove Liability in Personal Injury Cases
One of the most crucial elements of any personal injury case is the burden of proof. Understanding this burden of proof can help you better prepare your case and ensure you have the evidence needed to prove your claim.
What Is the Burden of Proof?
The burden of proof in personal injuries refers to the legal obligation of the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent or intentionally caused harm, resulting in the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff has to provide evidence demonstrating that the defendant breached a legal duty to the plaintiff and that the breach of duty caused the injuries.
The Preponderance of the Evidence
In California, as in most other states, the burden of proof in personal injury cases is a preponderance of the evidence. This means the injured person has to prove the other party was to blame for the injuries. In other words, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant’s actions or omissions were more likely than not the cause of the injuries.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove the Case?
Several types of evidence can be used to prove personal injuries. Some of the most common types of evidence include:
- Eyewitness testimony: This can be an important type of evidence if people saw the accident happen. Witness statements can provide an unbiased account of what occurred.
- Medical records: Medical records can show the extent and severity of the injuries, as well as any ongoing treatment needed. Medical records can also establish a causal link between the accident and the injuries.
- Expert testimony: Expert witnesses can provide evidence about specialized topics, such as accident reconstruction, medical procedures or occupational health and safety. Expert testimony can be particularly useful in complex cases.
- Photographs and videos: Photographs and videos of the accident scene can be powerful evidence. They can show the severity of the damage and demonstrate who was at fault.
California has a comparative negligence rule, which means that the plaintiff can still recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, the damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent at fault, their damages award will be 75 percent.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in California for personal injury cases is two years from the accident date. However, there are exceptions to this rule depending on the type of case. If the claim involves a government entity or a medical malpractice case, for example, there may be shorter deadlines to file a claim. It is essential to consult with an attorney to understand the specific deadlines that apply to your case.
Role of the Jury
In California, the jury is responsible for ruling on the case’s facts and deciding who is at fault for the accident. The jury considers the evidence and decides based on the preponderance of the evidence.
How an Attorney Can Help
Navigating the legal system can be challenging, especially when dealing with personal injuries. An experienced California personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can help gather evidence, evaluate the strength of your case and help you understand your legal options.
Burden of proof in personal injury cases in California is on the plaintiff, who must prove that the defendant was at fault for their injuries. The plaintiff must provide evidence demonstrating that the defendant breached a legal duty to the plaintiff and caused the injury.
Vallejo Personal Injury Lawyer
I am Ed Smith, and I am a Vallejo personal injury lawyer. To find out whether you can recover compensation if another entity or individual’s negligence caused your injury, please contact us. Call our accident attorneys at (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400 if you need free and friendly legal advice. You can also send an online message.
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With the help of our injury lawyers, Vallejo residents have often received the compensation they deserve following an accident. The following are examples of work we’ve done:
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