Suppose an injured party wants to pursue legal action against the party who caused their injuries. In that case, they will need to prove several elements that are essential to a personal injury cases. They are required to demonstrate that the accused party owed them a duty not to hurt them and that duty was breached. They are also required to show that they were injured and that their injury was caused directly by the actions of the person who is being accused.
In addition to that, the burden of proof standard must be met. It is said that the burden of proof “describes the standard that a party seeking to prove a fact in court must satisfy in order to have that fact legally established.”
In a case involving personal injury, whose responsibility is it to provide proof? You’ve probably heard the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” used in reference to the standard of proof required in legal cases from watching a large number of movies and television shows. Although that is the norm in some cases, the burden of proof differs depending on the nature of the case. A lawyer who specializes in personal injury law is familiar with the procedures necessary to manage the burden of proof and effectively present the victim’s case to the relevant parties.
In Personal Injury Cases, the Burden of Proof Is “Preponderance of the Evidence”
In cases of personal injury, in which an individual or an organization is responsible for your injury or harm, the burden of proof is different from that in criminal cases, in which an individual or an organization is responsible for the commission of a crime such as robbery or homicide.
The burden of proof in a case involving personal injury is known as the preponderance of the evidence. That implies that the judge and jury must have a higher level of confidence in the plaintiff’s (the injured person’s) version of events than they do in any defence argument. This is because the plaintiff is the one who claims to have been injured. (The party that is being accused of negligence is the defence.)
On the other hand, in a case involving criminal injury, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a phrase that frequently appears on television. When someone is accused of killing another person, the prosecution has the burden of proving their guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt in front of the court. If there is even the slightest possibility of error, a defendant should be found not guilty.
A case involving personal injury falls under the purview of civil law and is heard in a civil court. The burden of proof is different in the civil law system compared to the criminal law system and the criminal court system because of the significant differences between the two.
Someone has caused you injury or harm, but it does not necessarily mean that they have committed a crime against you in the case of a personal injury lawsuit. Let’s say you were shopping at a grocery store in Phoenix and slipped and fell on some liquid that had been spilled. There is a possibility that the property owner acted negligently. In this context, “negligence” refers to the failure of the store owner to fulfill their duty to exercise reasonable care.
The owner of a grocery store has a duty of care to ensure that all areas of the property that are accessible to customers are free from risk at all times. In the event that it becomes unsafe, they have a responsibility to inform the general public and restrict access to the hazardous area; because of this, shops and other types of retail establishments frequently place cautionary cones or tape around potentially hazardous areas, such as spots where a customer has spilled somethingonally, it is their responsibility to take immediate action to rectify the situation, such as mopping the floor.
If they do not perform any of these tasks, then it is possible that they acted negligently. In the event that you trip over the spilled liquid and sustain injuries as a result of your fall, the owner may be held legally and financially responsible for your injuries and deemed negligent in the process. However, it is possible that they have not actually committed a crime.
In some cases involving personal injuries, there may also have been a criminal act. Let’s say that a car in front of you on a two-lane highway fails to pass properly, and as a result, you are involved in a head-on collision. The driver is being investigated for driving under the influence of alcohol (also known as DUI), which is a criminal offence.
On the other hand, the negligence standard and the personal injury burden of proof will apply to your case in civil court if you want to bring it there because you were injured in the accident. To accomplish what you want, demonstrating that the driver was negligent is the more important issue. Every motorist has a responsibility to the general public to drive in a way that is both safe and compliant with the law.
When they were under the influence of alcohol and driving a vehicle, they disobeyed a duty that required them to drive safely. You may be able to use the fact that the driver was convicted of a crime to help show that they were negligent in your case. However, if you pursue a claim for compensation under civil law, you can do so even if the negligent driver is not prosecuted or found guilty of a criminal offence.
Other distinctions between criminal law and civil law include who can bring the case and the type of remedy that can be requested. In cases involving personal injury, the party who was injured is the one who is required to initiate the legal process. When a criminal investigation is opened, the police and the district attorney’s office do so because they suspect that a crime may have been committed.
Damage compensation is typically the remedy in cases involving personal injury. The party who was negligent — or their insurance company — will provide monetary compensation for the harm that you have endured as a result of your actions. The remedy in cases involving criminal conduct is punishment, which may take the form of fines, terms of incarceration, or any of the other penalties specified in criminal law.
The Most Common Personal Injury Cases
The following are the primary causes of personal injury lawsuits filed in Arizona:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability (accidents on public or private property)
- DUI accidents
How Do I Meet the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case?
In cases involving personal injury, the injured party can discharge their burden of proof by presenting a preponderance of evidence to an insurance adjuster or a judge and jury in a civil court.
Again, the evidence must prove that the accident caused you to sustain injuries or other harm, that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries, and that the action of the liable party was responsible for the accident. The other party may be a person, such as a careless driver, or it may be an organization, such as a property management company, that does not ensure the safety of its tenants and tenants’ property.
The following types of documentation are frequently used to support personal injury cases:
Get a copy of the police report whenever you are involved in a collision with another vehicle, regardless of the nature of the collision. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), if you are involved in an accident in the state of Arizona, you are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible.
In order to compile a police report, law enforcement personnel will interview all drivers involved, examine the accident scene, note significant details such as the location, date, and time of the incident, and, if possible, speak with eyewitnesses. You must stay at the scene in order to obtain a copy of the police report. If your injuries prevent you from doing so, you should get a copy as soon as you are able to, or your attorney should get one for you.
Footage obtained from surveillance cameras There are surveillance cameras installed in an increasing number of locations. Their footage has the potential to be a significant piece of evidence that verifies what took place.
Pictures or videos taken at the scene of the accident It is a good idea to take pictures or record videos of the accident scene if you are involved in an accident and carry a smartphone with you. The video should show what happened (such as skid marks from speeding and damage to street signs, for example) as well as the damage that was done to the vehicles and the areas around them.
In the event that you are injured in an accident, it is a good idea to take pictures or videos of your wounds as soon as possible after the incident. Your mission is to compile credible evidence regarding the who, what, where, and why, as well as the how of the accident.
Documents from the medical field: Documents from the medical field can be used to prove that you were injured by providing evidence of emergency transport and treatment, diagnostic tests, and notes from doctors and other medical providers. The diagnosis, the proposed treatment, and the prognosis are all very significant pieces of evidence. Maintain all medical records as well as records of visits to the doctor.
Information obtained from eyewitnesses Eyewitness information can attest to what took place and who or what was responsible for it.
Investigations and forensic analyses — It is possible that you will not be able to determine who or what was responsible for an accident, especially if your injuries are severe. Investigators, who are able to gather footage and talk to potential eyewitnesses, and forensic analysts, who are able to recreate what caused an accident, are two examples of the types of professionals that law firms frequently collaborate with in order to gather proof and evidence.
Your notes on the incident It is a good idea to make notes about an accident as soon as possible, even though your notes on the incident are not generally accepted as proof positive in the absence of additional evidence to corroborate them. Include what transpired, how it impacted you, and your interpretation of why it took place. Because of this, an opposing lawyer or insurance company may use the fact that your account of what occurred has become inconsistent over time as evidence to suggest that you are not being truthful about what occurred. Memories are subject to deterioration.