Everything You Need to Know About Burden of Proof in California Personal Injury Cases

In California personal injury cases, the burden of proof lies with the victim. This means that in order to pursue financial compensation for their injuries, the person who suffered the personal injury must demonstrate the opposing party was negligent, directly causing their injuries. A burden of proof is the legal standard that determines who is responsible for presenting evidence to prove their injury claim.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s lack of reasonable care, you may be eligible to seek legal recourse for the financial, emotional, and physical losses you have suffered. A highly qualified personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the necessary evidence to satisfy the burden of proof in your personal injury claim.

What Is the Burden of Proof in California Personal Injury Cases?

The burden of proof is a legal obligation of the victim to prove their claim with various types of evidence. This may include surveillance footage, pictures, police reports, and other relevant documents. You must show that it is more likely than not that the liable party was negligent, and that negligence directly resulted in your injuries and accident-related damages.

A California personal injury lawyer will investigate the accident to substantiate the facts of the claim. During the litigation process, the victim will present their version of the event as testimony through written statements and depositions. In addition, expert witnesses may testify on the victim’s behalf to strengthen their case. A skilled personal injury attorney always employs creative resources, such as visuals, videos and graphics, to present the victim’s case in the most compelling way. If the case does not reach a reasonable conclusion, testimony from the victim and expert witnesses would also be presented before a judge or jury.

You must prove the following elements of negligence to obtain a favorable outcome in a personal injury claim in California:

  • Legal duty: The opposing party had a legal duty to act reasonably and prudently toward the victim.
  • Breach of duty: The opposing party breached their legal duty towards the victim by failing to act in a reasonable or prudent manner. It may occur if they failed to take necessary action or when they failed to act as a reasonable individual would have in a similar situation.
  • Causation: The breach of legal duty directly caused the victim’s injuries. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help show the direct causal link between the breach and the victim’s injuries.
  • Accident-related damages: The victim suffered accident-related damages or harm due to the opposing party’s breach of legal duty.

If any of these four elements is not substantiated, the victim may not recover damages in a personal injury claim. In a civil trial, the victim must persuade the judge or jury with evidence that their claim is true, with over 50% of the credible evidence in their favor.

What Are the Potential Types of Burdens of Proof in a Personal Injury Case?

In California, there are two types of burdens of proof that may apply to a personal injury case, including the following:

A Preponderance of Evidence

A preponderance of evidence is a legal standard used in civil cases, including personal injury cases, to determine which side has met the burden of proof. This may mean that the evidence presented by one side is more convincing or true than the evidence presented by the opposing party.

Clear and Convincing Evidence

A higher standard than preponderance of evidence is clear and convincing evidence, which requires stronger and substantially more probable evidence in a personal injury case.

This type of evidence may be required in certain circumstances, such as when a victim seeks punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to an accident victim for a negligent individual’s egregious or intentional conduct as a punishment and to deter the conduct from occurring again.

Contact the Highly Qualified Personal Injury Lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

If you have been harmed in a personal injury accident, your skilled lawyer at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. will determine the burden of proof necessary for a successful outcome. We will conduct an extensive investigation to obtain evidence to prove liability and aggressively represent you in court.

Let us fight for you. For more information about the burden of proof as it relates to your unique case, call (916) 970-9100 or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.