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Burden of Proof

Definition - What does Burden of Proof mean?

Burden of proof is the legal threshold a party must meet in a civil or criminal case to prove the facts of the case. Personal injury cases require the plaintiff to meet the burden of proof by supplying evidence for their case.

Evidence can include eye witness statements, video, documents, etc. Some civil cases also may require certain types of expert testimony. For instance, to win a medical malpractice case the plaintiff will need more than factual evidence. A medical expert must also testify against the defending physician.

In some civil cases the law allows for the presumption of proof. For example, in car accident claims if the driver is hit from the rear the rear-ending driver is generally assumed to be negligent unless they are able to prove they are not.
Preponderance of Evidence and personal injury claims

The burden of proof in a civil case is met by presenting a preponderance of evidence, which supports the claim that the defendant more than likely caused the accident or injury through their negligence. This burden of proof is much lower than a criminal case, which requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty.

Burden of proof and proving a personal injury case

Most personal injury claims are made on the basis of negligence. But proving negligence requires the defendant to prove certain elements of their case. Winning a personal injury claim will require the plaintiff to prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, the defendant breached their duty, the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries, and the plaintiff suffered loss or injury.

If the plaintiff does not have sufficient evidence to meet the legal burden of proof and convince the court the defendant is guilty or liable through a preponderance of evidence than they will not win their personal injury case and will not be entitled to any compensation for their loss.

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