While you may have heard the term “burden of proof” more often when it comes to criminal cases, it actually applies to civil cases as well, which includes car accident cases. Therefore, when an individual decides to file a car accident claim, they must show proof that what they are stating happened actually did happen.
It is important for you to grasp the concept to ensure that you understand how the legal process works for car accident cases, and what you need to do to obtain the compensation amount you deserve.
What does “burden of proof” mean?
According to Cornell Law School, burden of proof is “the standard that a party seeking to prove a fact in court must satisfy to have that fact legally established.” Any type of allegations that you make against someone must be supported with evidence, showing that they are factual. In civil cases, such as car accident cases, the individual who files the suit (the plaintiff) is responsible for the burden of proof, meaning that they are required to show that what they are saying or alleging is true.
Criminal vs. civil burden of proof
In a criminal case, the jury or judge who hears the case must be sure that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Cornell Law School explains that the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution in a criminal case. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty, or criminally responsible.
In a civil case, the burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff, which is the individual who claims to be the victim in the accident and files the lawsuit. The burden of that proof, however, is broader. In civil claims, you must make your case with a “preponderance of evidence.” That means your lawyers must present evidence that convinces the jury that the defendant is more likely than not to have caused your accident and injuries. When the evidence is strong and persuasive, the jury is likely to deem the defendant is at fault and therefore liable, or responsible for your injuries.
Proving negligence caused your car accident
Car accident cases are usually based on a claim of negligence. Therefore, the plaintiff must be able to show that the negligent behavior or actions of another person (or multiple parties) were to blame for the car accident, which led to the plaintiff’s injuries. In order to successfully do this, you must prove (with a preponderance of evidence) all four of these important elements:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed you a duty of care, which is to keep you safe and harm-free while driving on and sharing the roads.
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty of care by engaging in negligent or reckless driving behaviors, which put you and others at risk.
- Causation: The defendant’s negligent behavior directly caused the car accident which, in turn, caused your injuries.
- Damages: Due to the car accident, you sustained medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental trauma, and other damages.
Does the burden of proof apply to every car accident case?
Burden of proof does apply to every civil case, which includes car accident cases. No matter what type of car accident you are involved in, you must provide substantial proof that everything you allege is true.
What types of evidence can help my Columbus car accident case?
If you are a victim of a car accident, you should hire a Columbus car accident lawyer at your earliest opportunity. Your attorney will work with you to gather the appropriate evidence that will convince the jury of the harm you endured due to the defendant’s negligent actions. Some of the key pieces of evidence that we may use include:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Video and surveillance footage
- Documentation of bills, bank statements, wage loss, potential financial insecurity, and more
Your lawyer will determine how much evidence you need to successfully prove that the defendant is at fault for the car accident. Sometimes, a car accident case can be settled quickly, while other cases may require longer. Every individual’s case is unique and different. However, the more evidence you have available and ready to use, the better your chances are of showing proof of responsibility for your accident and injuries.
What if multiple vehicles were involved in my accident?
It is not unusual for car accidents to involve multiple vehicles. For example, you may be involved in a car crash at a busy intersection, which resulted in three or four people being injured in different cars. While these cases may be more difficult to determine fault, there is usually more than one vehicle driver considered liable for the accident. However, regardless of how many people are responsible for the collision, the individual who files the lawsuit still has the burden of proof, meaning that they must now prove fault against more than one vehicle driver for their car accident, injuries, and other losses. Call us as soon as you can so we can get started.
At Soroka & Associates, our car accident attorneys stand up and protect the rights of our clients located in and near Columbus, Ohio. We have built a solid reputation within our community and the greater metro region, ensuring that car accident victims can trust and depend on us during tough and complicated times. Our team believes that you should never have to go through this alone, which is why we are committed to fighting for your right to the financial compensation that you need to get back on your feet and rebuild your life again after the accident.
Our skilled lawyers know and understand the difficulties you are currently going through. While we cannot bring your health and losses from the accident back, we can help you achieve the justice you deserve. Call the office of Soroka & Associates or complete our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.