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Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury law firm in Orange County whose top priority and singular focus is the people we represent. We work diligently to make sure that our clients are well taken care of and that their needs are not only met, but come first. Injured now? Do not hesitate to reach out to Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.
What is Burden of Proof and How to Meet it
Working for an accident lawyer, I know that there are a lot of terms I had never heard of before. For instance, burden of proof. What is it? What do you have to do in a car accident claim to meet the burden of proof? And I know if I have these questions, others do as well. Today, I am going to go over the definition of burden of proof as well as the ways your car accident attorney will meet the burden of proof in your car accident claim. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Silverthorne Attorneys to discuss your case. Consultations with one of our attorneys are free!
Accident Lawyer | What is Burden of Proof?
What is burden of proof? Put simply, it is the duty of the person filing the claim (injured person) to show that the allegations are true. Your car accident lawyer does this by providing evidence. Below, we go over the different standards of proof for different cases. Pay close attention to the civil suits section.
In criminal cases, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that given all of the facts in the case, there is no other reasonable conclusion other than the defendant committed the crime. And it is the job of the prosecutor to prove that.
Civil Suits & Your Car Accident Attorney
Civil suits are different than a criminal one. Usually, when a car accident attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys put together a demand, we do not always have to file a lawsuit. In fact, the only time we will file a lawsuit is if the insurance companies are withholding compensation that our client rightfully deserves.
However, when we are putting our demand together, it is up to us (you and your accident lawyer) to meet the burden of proof. This is generally done by a “preponderance of evidence” that the plaintiff’s (the injured party) allegations are true and that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Most car accident cases involve some sort of negligence on the part of the at-fault party. However, it is up to the injured party to establish burden of proof in order to determine if the defendant was indeed negligent and responsible for your injuries.
Meeting the burden of proof includes the following four elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- Duty of care was breached;
- The defendant’s negligent actions were the cause of an injury;
- That the plaintiff was in fact injured
In order for these questions to be answered, let’s go over what duty of care means and how that breach of duty can help you and your car accident attorney meet the burden of proof.
Accident Attorney | What is Duty of Care?
Duty of care is very important in car accident cases. This is because the injured party and their lawyers must prove that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution in regard to the plaintiff’s safety. For example, if someone is driving drunk and hits you and you are severely injured, that person who drove drunk had a duty to meet to not injure you. In this case, the duty of care is very clear – the person who drove drunk did not meet their duty of care simply because they decided to drive under the influence.
Breach of Duty
As discussed above, once we have determined that there was a duty to act with reasonable care, we must then prove that the at-fault breached their duty. This will usually includes proving that the defendant failed to act in a way that a careful person would have acted in that same situation.
Using the same example above in the drunk driving scenario. In this case, the police report shows that the at-fault party was driving under the influence. Thus proving that the defendant’s actions were outside of the reasonable “norm.” In this case, especially with the police report, it is easy to prove that the at-fault party breached their duty of care.
In other cases, it may not be as cut and dry. And your car accident attorney will rely heavily on the evidence provided to them. This can include pictures of the scene and damages to your car and your injuries. It can also include witness statements as well as expert witness testimony, etc.
Auto Accident Attorney | Causation
It will also be the responsibility of the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s conduct and the car accident is the cause of their injuries. Simply put, we must prove that had it not been for the actions of the defendant, you would not have been injured. Again, sometimes causation is easy to prove. At other times, it is not. For instance, if you have had lingering back problems at the end of your rear-end accident, it will be more difficult to prove that the accident is causing your current back issues.
Injury & Damages
Last but definitely not least, we need to prove the details of the accident in order to move forward with your car accident claim. Again, in certain cases this can be as simple as pictures, medical bills and records, even testimony (if need be) from one of your medical providers.
When we are able to do this, our accident lawyer will then put together a demand. This will be the compensation you are entitled to. We do this by putting together all of the above evidence together and sending it off to the insurance adjusters assigned to the case.
We understand that this all seems so simple, and sometimes there are cases that are cut and dry and the proof is there. There are some cases where the insurance companies will fight you on it. And that is why it is important to contact us right away. We can take care of everything for you.
Contact Silverthorne Attorneys Today!
Being injured in an accident leaves people feeling stressful and oftentimes hopeless. However, if you hire a car accident attorney in our office, you don’t have to worry about a thing. The only thing you should be focusing on is tending to your health. It has always been the goal of the attorneys in our office to take the burden of the case from our client’s shoulders so they can focus all of their energy on their health. That is what we aim to do.
All of our attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurance adjusters and have no problem fighting back when they are being unfair. Do not let the insurance companies take advantage of you during this sensitive time.
Contact one of the accident lawyers in our office for a free consultation today!