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The Burden of Proof and How it Affects a Personal Injury Claim

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In a personal injury case, the burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff. This means that you must be able to prove beyond the preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of your injury. If you have hired legal counsel to represent your interests, your personal injury lawyer will generally be tasked with overcoming this burden on your behalf.

You Must Prove That the Defendant Engaged in a Negligent Act

To obtain compensation in a personal injury case, you must be able to show that the defendant was negligent in causing your injuries. There are several elements to a negligence claim that must be met to prove that this is true in your case. For instance, it must be shown that the defendant had a duty of care toward you and that this duty was breached. Furthermore, you will need to establish that the defendant’s actions were the reason for your injuries. Finally, you will need to prove that you incurred a financial loss because of that person’s irresponsible behavior.

Did the Defendant Have a Duty to Protect You?

Generally speaking, property owners have a responsibility to protect those who are on their premises. However, this assumes that you have permission to be on a person’s property. For instance, you typically have permission to be in a public place such as a grocery store during normal business hours. You would also likely have permission to be on someone’s property if you were hired to mow the grass or wash the windows.

However, if you don’t have a valid reason for being on a person’s property, that individual generally has no duty to keep you safe while there. Furthermore, property owners are generally not required to mitigate hazards that they don’t know about or don’t have time to fix before a guest arrives.

As a general rule, individuals are required to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident while out in public. For instance, a driver must drive at a speed appropriate for road conditions and travel in a vehicle that is properly maintained. If a pet owner is walking a dog, that individual must take steps to prevent that animal from hurting another person.

It’s important to note that you have a responsibility to protect yourself while in public. If you’re at the grocery store, you’re expected to stay cognizant of a slippery floor or objects that might fall from a shelf. If you are driving, you must remain ready to take basic actions to avoid or minimize the severity of a crash. Failing to take reasonable precautions may impact your ability to obtain compensation from another party.

How Can You Prove That the Defendant’s Actions Caused Your Injuries?

Your personal injury lawyer will likely use medical records to prove that a defendant’s actions were the direct cause of broken bones or a head injury. These records will help to establish that you sought care immediately after falling at the store or after a car accident took place.

Furthermore, they may negate a defendant’s claim that you suffered from chronic back pain or severe headaches long before an accident took place. An attorney may also use witness statements, a police report or video footage to show that you were healthy prior to your interaction with the defendant. Generally speaking, using multiple lines of evidence may make it easier to meet your burden of proof as they can do a better job of fully corroborating your claims.

How Do You Prove That You Incurred a Financial Loss?

The easiest way to show that you incurred a financial loss is to submit any medical bills incurred after a car accident or slip-and-fall accident. It may also be possible to submit tax records that indicate a loss of income in the year that you were hurt. Doing so can help to show that you were forced to miss work and forego a portion of your annual wages.

In addition to showing that you experienced a financial loss, these records can also establish the extent of your losses. Typically, you’ll be reimbursed for medical bills and lost wages as part of a personal injury settlement or jury award. You might also be entitled to the cost of repairing a vehicle, refurbishing a home or other damages related to a defendant’s disregard for your safety.

If you believe that you have been injured through no fault of your own, it may be in your best interest to take legal action. In most cases, you’ll have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. An attorney from Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco may be able to take steps to help preserve your legal rights. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can potentially help.

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