Evidence in Personal Injury Lawsuits
If courts did not make decisions based on evidence, they would not be able to make any claim to justice. People resort to lawsuits to resolve disputes because the court, at least in theory, gives equal weight to each side’s arguments, judging each on its own merits. It is because of evidence that litigation as a means of conflict resolution is preferable to fistfights or an angry mob running someone out of town. Just how much evidence do you need to win a lawsuit, though? To find out if you have enough evidence to be successful in a lawsuit against the party you believe is responsible for your injuries, contact a Florida personal injury attorney.
What Plaintiffs Must Prove in Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury lawsuits can arise from almost any kind of injury or illness, but whether the lawsuit is about an accident, animal attack, medical malpractice, or dangerous product, the main issues in the lawsuit are the same. The plaintiff must demonstrate the following:
- The defendant had a duty of care, which means that it was the defendant’s responsibility to act in such a way that their behavior, property, or products did not cause unnecessary danger to other people.
- The defendant breached that duty of care, such as by driving dangerously, making a medical error, failing to place a “wet floor” sign in a restaurant after its floors had been mopped, or selling dangerously defective products.
- The defendant’s breach of the duty of care led the plaintiff to suffer an injury or illness which cannot be attributed to a cause other than the defendant’s negligence.
Standards of Evidence
Accidents happen, and most illnesses are not preventable, so how do you prove that your ill health is because of what the defendant did or did not do, and not just bad luck? In a personal injury lawsuit, you must persuade the court that there is a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your illness or injury. A preponderance of the evidence means that the chances are greater than 50 percent that what the plaintiff is alleging is true. This is a much less stringent rule than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” required in criminal cases. This is because the only thing at stake is money; no one goes to jail because of a personal injury lawsuit verdict. Extreme cases of negligence can, however, result in criminal charges, which is why drunk driving is a crime, for example.
In personal injury lawsuits, medical records are often the most important evidence document. You must prove that you were injured when you said you were and that you sought medical treatment when appropriate instead of waiting for your condition to worsen. It also helps to bring medical records from before the accident to prove that you had no history of the medical problems that began at the time of the accident.
Contact Scott Smith About Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured in an accident, contact Palm Beach County personal injury attorney Scott Smith for a consultation to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Our team is eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.