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What Is “Burden of Proof” in a California Personal Injury Case?

When a legal burden of proof is referred to in a civil case, it involves the responsibility of a party to present sufficient evidence to prove its allegation against a defendant. It’s the plaintiff (claimant) who has the burden of proving their case against a defendant.

In a criminal case, the prosecution, has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For purposes of civil personal injury cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. It’s a lower burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the liberty of the defendant isn’t at jeopardy. What a preponderance of the evidence means is that the plaintiff’s version of events as supported by the evidence is more likely true than not true. Then, the defendant becomes liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

The Burden of Proof Can Shift

It should be noted that sometimes, the burden of proof can shift over to a defendant. That’s what will happen when the defendant raises what’s known as an affirmative defense. For example, in a slip-and-fall case, a defendant might allege that the plaintiff quite simply wasn’t watching where he or she was walking. In a rear-end car crash, the defendant might allege that the plaintiff stopped suddenly, without warning for no reason at all. If the defendant made such allegations, he or she will need to prove them by a preponderance of the evidence.

Contact a California Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case Lawyer Today

The fact that a civil personal injury case has a lower burden of proof than a criminal case doesn’t mean that you don’t need a quality California personal injury lawyer representing you. There are still complex issues involving liability, damages and countering any affirmative defenses that must be addressed. After being injured in any accident anywhere in California, contact us at Maison Law for a free confidential consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced California personal injury lawyer. If we’re retained to represent you, our objective will be twofold. First, we want to prevail and overcome the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. After that, we want to maximize any proceeds that you derive from any settlement or award. Contact us for that free consultation as soon as you can.

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