A personal injury arises when one suffers harm or injury as a result of another party’s negligence. Settlements for such claims may be made in or out of court, depending on whether the parties involved can reach an agreement on their own.
What does it take, however, to “prove” a personal injury claim? How much proof is needed?
What’s the burden of proof?
Essentially, the burden of proof is the legal standard one party has to meet to prove their case. In a personal injury case, there are four main things that have to be proven:
- A duty of care owed to you by the other party party
- The other party breached their duty negligently, recklessly or intentionally
- Your injuries were caused or worsened by that breach of duty
- You suffered actual damages and losses
As the plaintiff, or the person who suffered injuries, the burden of proof is on you to show that all four of those statements are true — which is often easier in some situations than others.
How much proof is needed?
It all lies in the balance of probabilities, and as the injured party, you only need to show, by the weight of your evidence as a whole (a “preponderance”) that everything you allege is true. Unlike a criminal case where the evidentiary standard is higher and a jury has to be certain beyond “all reasonable doubt” to convict, the court in a personal injury claim only needs to believe you’ve proven your case “more likely than not.”
Understanding the ins-and-outs of a personal injury claim
Looking out for your legal rights is in your best interests, and navigating the sometimes murky judicial waters may require a helping hand. It’s best to stay informed to ensure you get the justice you deserve.