Get Answers to Your Questions About the Burden of Proof in California Personal Injury Cases
If you have had reason to file a personal injury case in the state of California, you likely have many questions. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas we are standing by to answer them at 909-982-0707. You can also keep reading to get answers to commonly asked questions about who has the burden of proof in these cases.
What Does the Legal Term “Preponderance of the Evidence” Mean?
Most personal injury cases in California require that the plaintiff proves their case beyond a “preponderance of the evidence.” Essentially, this means that it is more likely true than not true that the injury occurred the way the plaintiff says it did. Compare this to a criminal case, in which the requirement is that the evidence is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
What About “Clear and Convincing Evidence”?
In rare instances, a civil case may have a higher burden of proof: Clear and convincing evidence. This requires that the plaintiff proves by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant is guilty. This is a higher standard than a preponderance, but it is still less than beyond a reasonable doubt. Essentially, instead of proving that something is more likely to have happened than not, you must prove that there is a high probability that something happened.
Does the Defendant Have to Prove Anything?
In some cases, the plaintiff may have what is known as an affirmative defense. This means that they will make a “prima facie” case – which shifts the burden to the defendant to prove why their actions were legal. For example, consider a libel case in which the accused defends himself not by denying that he said the things he is accused of saying, but by insisting that they are true. He must then prove that point.
Which Burden of Proof is Required in My Case?
Your personal injury attorney will let you know that the burden of proof applies to your specific case. It may require legal research to determine the right option. It may be that you have more than one claim or legal basis under which you could seek damages. Your attorney is the best person to consider your case and find the best way forward.
How Can I Move Forward with a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707. We will take the time to understand the options available to you better. We will listen to your side of the story, consider the evidence, and provide your options to you. This can all take place during the free legal consultation. If we decide to take your case on, we will do so on a contingency basis that requires no upfront legal fees. Call us now to get started.