Why is the Burden of Proof Important in a Car Accident Claim?
You have probably heard the term “burden of proof” when people are discussing a legal matter. What you may not know is that there are different standards of proof based on the type of case you plan to file.
What is Burden of Proof?
The burden of proof is the duty a person must bring, in the form of evidence, that the allegations they are making is true. In a criminal case, it is the prosecutor who must prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil suits, such as a car accident claim, the person who files the lawsuit has the burden to prove what they say is true.
Difference in Civil and Criminal Proof
As mentioned, in a criminal proceeding, the judge or jury must have no doubt about the defendant’s guilt. If they have any doubt at all, they are not supposed to find them guilty. In a civil trial, guilt is determined by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the jury may decide that the person is more likely than not guilty of causing an injury. They may have doubts, but if the evidence points to guilt, they may find the defendant guilty.
Elements of Negligence
In a car accident claim, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care and that the duty of care was breached, leading to your injury. It is understood that when you drive a car, you should follow the law and operate your vehicle in a safe manner. That is the duty of care while driving a car. However, if a driver acts in a careless or negligent manner, such as driving while intoxicated or failing to stop at a stop sign, they have breached their duty of care. The key is that the person must have acted in a way that a reasonable person would not have acted in order to have breached the duty of care. Finally, the breached duty of care must have caused your accident. For example, if someone ran a red light, causing you to break an ankle in the accident, you may prove that the defendant was negligent and recover damages in court. However, if you were fine immediately after the accident but stepped in a hole at the accident scene, causing the broken ankle, it is possible the defendant may not be held accountable.
If you or a loved one has been injured and feels a car accident claim is necessary, contact Lundy Law to learn what rights you may have. You can arrange for an initial consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or completing the simple form on our website.