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

As the victim of a negligent third party, you have the right to file a case

As the victim of a negligent third party, you have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from those whose actions caused your injury. However, it is not enough to simply allege negligence—you must prove that every element of your claim is true for the court to award damages.

This requirement is called the burden of proof, and it applies to every personal injury and medical malpractice claim in New Jersey. If the injured victim does not properly meet the burden of proof, the judge will dismiss the case and award no compensation, no matter how severely the victim is injured. This is a fundamental part of the US legal system and ensures defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

Are you preparing to contact a personal injury law firm? Before you do, learn about the burden of proof and how it applies to your claim.

The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case

In civil lawsuits, including personal injury and medical malpractice, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means the evidence must be more convincing than the defendant’s, demonstrating a greater than 50% chance that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This burden of proof is also called “more likely than not.”

Be aware that specific elements of some personal injury and medical malpractice cases may require “clear and convincing” evidence, which means the likelihood of the defendant’s guilt is 67% or greater. Both of these burdens of proof are less strict than proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” (95% likelihood of guilt), which is required to convict defendants in criminal cases.

What the Victim Must Prove

Every negligence victim wins or loses their case based on the burden of proof. In a personal injury or medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must provide evidence proving the following three elements are true:

  • The defendant was negligent or deviated from an acceptable standard of care.
  • The defendant’s action or inaction caused the victim’s injuries.
  • The victim’s losses are worth compensating.

Several different pieces of evidence may be effective at proving these elements, including:

  • Eyewitness and expert testimonies
  • Accidents reports and police statements
  • Photographs from the scene
  • Property damage repair estimates
  • Medical records and bills

If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, you need a personal injury attorney to help you build a case that meets the burden of proof. Only then can you persuade a judge or jury that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries and the associated damages.

This is where Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC comes in. After over 70 years of practicing personal injury law in New Jersey, our legal team has gained experience litigating in over a dozen areas of focus, including medical malpractice, auto accidents, and wrongful death. Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve! Call 862-263-0770 or contact us online today to schedule your free, one-hour consultation. A Spanish translator is available upon request.

  • In 2022, a year in which New Jersey courts were basically closed for trials, our firm still settled almost 100 cases for in excess of 8 million dollars.
  • Discuss the firm's 2022 settlements.
  • Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
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