Why Do Victims Have the Burden of Proof in NJ Injury Claims?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on March 21, 2024  in Personal Injury News. Updated on April 10, 2024

Someone spelling out the words burden of proof on a table.

Individuals injured by the negligence of others often file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their medical costs and other losses. However, insurance companies will not pay out on these claims automatically. They want to see proof of the accident and resulting injuries, along with any damages being claimed. Since victims are the ones asking for compensation, the burden of proof falls on them to prove there was negligence.

In this article, we explain the burden of proof, including what it is and why it is the victim’s responsibility. We also discuss the steps an attorney may take to establish negligence and prove another party was at fault.

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, our experienced personal injury attorneys in New Jersey have been advocating for injured victims for decades. If you were injured by another party’s negligence, call us to discuss your situation as soon as possible. We can help determine whether you may have a case in a completely free consultation.

Request your FREE case review. Call: (817) 920-9000 today.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof is a legal term used to describe a person’s obligation to prove their claims are “more likely than not” true in a case. To meet the burden of proof, you have to meet a minimum standard to establish a fact in court. In personal injury cases, this standard is referred to as the “preponderance of evidence.”

An example of this is when someone gets injured in a car crash. In this type of accident, the victim must be able to prove their claim with evidence relating to the crash. This evidence could include:

  • Accident or police report
  • Property damage
  • Medical bills
  • Photos of the accident scene, injuries and vehicle damage
  • Medical records and other evidence that link the injuries to the crash

Why Does the Burden of Proof Fall on the Victim?

New Jersey, like most states, places the burden of proof on the victims because they are the ones seeking compensation. The legal system is set up this way for protection.

As a victim, it would be much easier for you to prove another person is at fault. But as an innocent person, it would be much more difficult for you to prove you did nothing wrong.

Many claims are truthful, but there are also fraudulent ones that seek to take advantage of drivers involved in a car accident and their insurance companies.

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

Negligence (not using reasonable care) is determined by the following factors:

  • Duty of Care: You must be able to establish that the party who caused you harm owed you a legal duty of care. All drivers, for example, owe a legal duty of care to follow traffic laws and take reasonable steps to avoid causing others harm.
  • Breach of Duty: The driver who hit you breached or violated the duty of care.
  • Causation: The driver’s breach of duty caused you to suffer harm or injuries.
  • Damages: You sustained damages as a result of the incident, such as medical costs, lost wages, vehicle damage and more.

Steps To Take if You Plan To Seek Compensation for Your Damages

If you intend to file a claim for compensation for the injuries you sustained in a car crash, the most crucial step after an accident is to seek medical attention. This step helps to ensure you receive the medical care for any injuries you sustained as quickly as possible. Time can make a significant difference, especially if you have life-threatening injuries.

After being examined and diagnosed for injuries, be sure to follow your doctor’s care plan, even if you believe your injuries seem minor.

Once your injuries have been stabilized, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. Having an experienced attorney manage your case could greatly benefit the outcome of your claim. Calling an attorney sooner than later is key as he or she will need time to build a strong case on your behalf.

Evidence That May Support Your Claim

Any pictures you can take of the accident scene could support your claim. However, only take these photos if you can do so without putting yourself in any danger. If possible, capture images of your immediate surroundings, property damage and physical injuries. These and other images can help to show what happened and prove the other party’s negligence.

You should accurately document what happened leading up to and including the incident that caused you harm. Tiny details you remember initially, may quickly be forgotten within a day or two of the incident. Other details to document may include:

  • The type and severity of your injuries
  • Your diagnosis and estimated time of recovery
  • The plan of care prescribed by your treating physician
  • How your injuries impact your daily life, such as being able to do simple tasks for yourself
  • The mental trauma and emotional distress caused by the accident
  • Lost wages
  • Out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment
  • And more

How Can an Attorney Help My Personal Injury Case?

The legal process for recovering compensation can be overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming. There are also deadlines to meet. In addition to these reasons for seeking legal help, an attorney can also benefit your case by:

  • Ensure you do not miss any deadlines
  • Represent you in court if your case goes to trial
  • Fully investigating the cause of the accident that injured you
  • Keep you fully informed about your case so you always know the status
  • Gather evidence to help establish the negligence of the at-fault party
  • Communicate with the insurance company or other third parties on your behalf
  • Guide you throughout the legal process to help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your claims

Need Legal Help After Being Injured Due to Another Party’s Negligence

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we have extensive experience and a proven history of success. Our firm has recovered millions for our clients, and we are ready to work tirelessly to recover full compensation for your damages.

We do not charge upfront costs, and we only get paid our fees if we win your case. Call us today for a free consultation to learn about your potential legal options. We are here to help.

Millions Recovered. Proven Results. (817) 920-9000

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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