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The Burden of Proof and How It Applies to Car Accident Claims

Published on Nov 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm in Car Accidents.

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If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have been unable to reach a full and fair settlement agreement with the insurance company, your lawyer can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. When doing so, it’s important to understand how the process works and what you’ll need to do to prove you case and receive the compensation you need to recover.

With a car accident claim, the burden of proof is what is required to prove you are owed the compensation you’re seeking. The concept isn’t always easy to comprehend, especially depending on the type of accident you were involved in, which is why it’s beneficial to work with an experienced law firm when you file your claim.

Defining the Burden of Proof

The legal concept of burden of proof refers to the evidence needed to prove any given claim. With a criminal claim, the legal phrase used is beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that jurors have to be 99 percent certain of the accused’s guilt. With the burden being so high, the evidence needs to be concrete. With a civil case, like one involving a car accident, the burden of proof is not quite as high.

With a civil claim, the burden of proof needs to be beyond a preponderance of evidence. This means that it has to be more likely than not, or at least 51 percent evident, that the opposing party was negligent.

Elements of Negligence

There are four key elements involved in proving negligence. Your lawyer will help you build your claim and develop strong points of evidence that prove the opposing driver acted negligently. The four elements of negligence include the following:

  • Duty of care. The first element establishes that the allegedly negligent driver owed you a duty of care. A duty of care exists between two drivers because both are expected to keep their vehicles in safe conditions and operate them safely and in accordance with traffic laws.
  • Breach of duty. A person breaches their duty by doing or not doing something that the average person would do in similar circumstances. A driver can be found responsible for causing an accident if the average driver would have known everything the defendant knew at the time, would have known their actions might cause an injury to someone else and would have done something different in that situation.
  • Causation. Causation, also known as cause in fact, requires a plaintiff to show that the opposing party’s breach of duty was the cause of their injury and losses. Another aspect of this element is considering if whether the defendant could have foreseen their actions might cause injury.
  • Damages. Damages refer to the economic and noneconomic damages a victim sustains in an accident. In a car accident, common damages are medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

To support the elements of negligence, your claim will need to rely on concrete evidence. Your lawyer can help you build such a claim.

Evidence Supporting a Car Accident Claim

In order to prove a preponderance of evidence exists that suggests negligence on behalf of the other driver, there are standard pieces of evidence you’ll want to collect. Your attorney will use that evidence to convince the judge or jury that the defendant caused you harm and should be held responsible. The proof you and your lawyer compile could include:

  • Medical records
  • Police reports
  • Witness accounts
  • Expert testimony
  • Photographs or videos from the crash scene
  • Lost wages statements

Information like your medical records and the police report from the crash will be easier to access that testimony from an expert reconstructionist. The amount of evidence you need will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident. If, for example, it’s clear that the opposing driver broke a traffic law before they hit you, the police report could be sufficient for proving breach of duty. If, however, you were partially at-fault for what happened, your lawyer will need to focus on building a claim that proves why the other driver is more at fault.

Contact Golden Law Office  

If you’ve been involved in a crash in or around the Lexington area, Golden Law Office is here for you. We’ve represented numerous car accident victims and we’re prepared to take your claim on next. When you work with us, we’ll be sure to accurately calculate your damages and fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

To learn if you have grounds for a claim or to find out more about your legal rights and options after a crash, schedule a case evaluation with our law firm today.

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