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Personal Injury 101: Learn How the Burden of Proof Works in California Personal Injury Cases
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Personal Injury 101: Learn How the Burden of Proof Works in California Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury 101: Learn How the Burden of Proof Works in California Personal Injury CasesIt should not be a surprise that you will need to present proof of your claim if you sue someone for personal injury. You might not be aware of the amount of proof or the standard of proof required to obtain the compensation you are requesting. Before calling The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation, continue reading to learn the fundamentals.

In a California personal injury case, the burden of proof could fall on two different parties

Preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence are the two burdens of proof that must be met in practically all personal injury lawsuits in California. Although they may sound similar, these are not the same. As opposed to a criminal case, the burden of proof in a personal injury case is not "beyond a reasonable doubt."

A preponderance of the evidence

A plaintiff in a personal injury case is typically expected to establish their case by a "preponderance of the evidence." This means that they must demonstrate that what they claim occurred was more likely to have occurred than not.

For instance, the jury might not be completely certain that the plaintiff and the two witnesses are telling an accurate story, but they might determine that it is more likely than not that they are if a car accident occurs and the plaintiff and two witnesses tell one story while the defendant tells another story.

Clear and convincing evidence

Less frequently, a plaintiff in a civil case might have to establish a requirement known as "clear and convincing" proof. Typically, this is carried out in situations when punitive damages are demanded. In that situation, the plaintiff must provide convincing evidence that the defendant committed fraud, oppression, or malice.

A preponderance of the evidence standard is greater than this standard of proof, but it still falls short of "beyond a reasonable doubt." It effectively means that, rather than only demonstrating that the plaintiff's account is more likely than not accurate, the jury must hold the account to be highly likely to be true.

Identifying the relevant burden of proof for your case

Your lawyer will decide the right burden of proof to use in your personal injury lawsuit if you have one. It's possible that you have multiple legal claims, each requiring a different level of proof. Call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to learn more about your legal options and to schedule a free consultation.

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