Burden Of Proof In A Personal Injury

What is the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case?

Generally, the fact that an accident which causes injury to another does not in itself give rise to an inference of negligence and is not enough to conclude that negligence must have occurred on the part of any person or entity. Negligence must be proved by the greater weight of the evidence. The most common understanding of “burden of proof” as a legal principle is that the plaintiff has the burden of proving each element of negligence in order to recover. This is a correct statement of the law as far as it goes. But it is not complete because the courts recognize two distinct burdens that are encompassed within the general term “burden of proof” as it applies to negligence actions. In this blog post, we will discuss the burden of proof in the context of personal injury cases.

In the case of In Re Estate of Ziy, the Florida Supreme Court explained that “the term “burden of proof” has two distinct meanings. By the one is meant the duty of establishing the truth of a given proposition or issue by such a quantum of evidence as the law demands in the case in which the issue arises; by the other is meant the duty of producing evidence at the beginning or at any subsequent stage of the trial, in order to make or meet a prima facie case. Generally speaking, the burden of proof, in the sense of the duty of producing evidence, passes from party to party as the case progresses, while the burden of proof, meaning the obligation to establish the truth of the claim by a preponderance of the evidence, rests throughout upon the party asserting the affirmative of the issue, and unless he meets this obligation upon the whole case he fails. The first burden is commonly referred to as the burden of persuasion. The second is commonly referred to as the burden of producing evidence. The burden of producing evidence means that the party attempting to establish his claim or defense must present enough evidence to establish each element of his cause of action or defense in order to avoid an adverse ruling by the court if sufficient evidence has not been produced. This adverse ruling is a directed verdict in a jury trial or a dismissal in a non-jury trial. The burden of producing evidence is usually cast first upon the party who is charged with the responsibility of properly pleading the elements of his cause of action or his defense, but as we shall see in the following discussions, this burden may shift to the adversary when sufficient evidence has been produced to satisfy the court that a directed verdict or dismissal should not be granted. The burden of producing evidence is the first hurdle that a party seeking affirmative relief or a party attempting to establish a defense to a cause of action must overcome in order to get his case or defense to the jury. The burden of persuasion becomes a burden that must be met only if the burden of producing sufficient evidence has been satisfied and when all of the evidence in the entire case has been presented by both sides. The burden of persuasion requires that the party with the burden of proof convince the jury that the preponderance of the evidence justifies a verdict in his favor. The burden of proof may be affected by presumptions and inferences that are recognized under Florida law.

Burden of Proof Explained: As a general rule, the party who must properly plead a cause of action or affirmative defense will have the burdens of producing evidence and of persuading the jury of the existence of facts which establish the cause of action or defense. A cause of action must be sufficiently pled in the initial complaint. Affirmative defenses are usually presented in the defendant’s answer. For instance, although a plaintiff may accurately allege the basic elements of a negligence action including duty, the breach of that duty, and the resulting harm to the plaintiff, failure to actually provide evidence at trial to support said allegations will prevent the plaintiff from prevailing on their case. Thus the pleadings present, define, and narrow the issues of each case and they form the foundation of and limit the proof to be submitted at trial. Therefore the pleadings provide a common guide to apportion the burdens of proof. In the typical negligence case, the defendant must plead and prove his affirmative defenses such as comparative negligence. In order to recover, the plaintiff must plead and prove the following elements of negligence: 1) a duty recognized by law which requires the defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others, including the plaintiff, against unreasonable risks; 2) breach of that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct; 3) a reasonably close causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s injury; and 4) actual damage or loss resulting to the plaintiff. For example, the primary issue that is contested in many negligence cases is whether the defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s injuries and whether the plaintiff has sufficiently proven this element of his cause of action.

How an Attorney Can Help with Your Personal Injury Claim

If the insurance company denies your personal injury or property damage claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation necessary to pay for your medical treatment and expenses. At the law offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Lawyers, an attorney can review your policy and the written reason for your denial to ensure that you have a valid claim. After a car accident, it is incredibly important for you to contact a Florida car accident attorney. The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

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The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents including:

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