You have the right to seek compensation for damages when another person or entity causes you harm or injury. However, under New York’s personal injury laws, it is your responsibility to prove the necessary legal elements of a personal injury claim.
What Does the Law Mean When it Says Preponderance of the Evidence?
Whenever there is a dispute over the facts in a personal injury case, the person alleging fault and damages carries the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. The evidence that proves your claims beyond a reasonable doubt is distinct from the evidence that proves your claims by a preponderance of the evidence.
In criminal cases, the burden of proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt applies. A jury must conclude that the evidence presented in the case leaves no reasonable doubt that anyone other than the defendant could have committed the crime. Because a criminal conviction could result in imprisonment, the burden of proof is extremely high.
In civil litigation, the burden of proof is lower. You are not required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was responsible for your injury.
You must present evidence that convinces the jury that the defendant caused your injury more likely than not. This is what the phrase “preponderance of evidence” refers to. You are not proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused your injury, but you are demonstrating that it is more likely than not that this occurred.
This evidentiary standard applies to all personal injury cases, including automobile accidents, premises liability claims, wrongful death cases, construction accidents, defective product claims, and many others.
What are You Trying to Prove in a Personal Injury Claim?
Most personal injury cases involve claims of negligence. Negligence is the failure to act as a reasonable person would in a given circumstance. Negligence claims may also involve failures or omissions of action.
For instance, a physician neglects to conduct the necessary diagnostic tests that would have revealed a cancer diagnosis. The inaction resulted in a delay in treatment, which exacerbated the patient’s condition.
Each element of a negligence claim must be established by a preponderance of the evidence in a personal injury case. In general, you must establish the following four elements to win a negligence claim:
The party responsible for the injury must have owed the injured party a duty of care at the time of the injury.
For instance, property owners owe visitors or guests on their property a duty of care to provide safe premises. Drivers owe a duty of care to other road users by operating their vehicles safely. Doctors owe their patients a duty of care.
The obligation of care necessitates that the party act in accordance with acceptable standards or laws. Consequently, the duty of care can differ depending on the type of personal injury claim.
The injured party must demonstrate that there was a breach of duty.
A property owner, for instance, failed to perform reasonable and necessary repairs despite knowing or having reason to know that the condition was hazardous or dangerous for visitors and guests. Another example of a violation of duty would be a driver who speeds or is impaired. Both behaviours increase the likelihood of a traffic collision.
The third element to prove is that your injury was caused by the breach of duty. There must be a causal connection between the breach of duty and the accident or occurrence that resulted in your injury. You cannot prove that the other party is responsible for your injuries and damages in the absence of a causal link.
The final element of a legal claim is proving damages. In a personal injury claim, damages may include physical injuries, monetary losses, emotional trauma, and other losses. You must demonstrate that the accident was responsible for these losses and damages.
Gathering Evidence to Meet Your Burden of Proof
Proving that another party was responsible for your injury may require substantial evidence. Costly and time-consuming, gathering evidence to meet your burden of proof can be necessary. Hiring a personal injury attorney may be beneficial.
A law firm has the necessary resources, experience, and time to investigate accident and injury claims. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your attorneys collect the necessary evidence to establish the negligent party’s financial liability for your damages.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.