How Does the Burden of Proof Work in an NYC Personal Injury Case?

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The “burden of proof” refers to the person in any legal case who is responsible for proving that the facts of that case are true. In a civil case, the “burden of proof” is generally on the plaintiff.

The plaintiff must demonstrate the following are true:

  • The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant failed in that duty of care.
  • That failure led directly to an injury or loss.
  • That loss is financially compensable. 

The “standard” of proof for these claims would be “by a preponderance of evidence,” which means that the plaintiff’s claims are “more likely to be true than not.” 

This is why we put such an emphasis on asking you to gather evidence, if possible, at the scene of your accident. This evidence includes:

  • Photos of the accident
  • Photos of your own injury
  • Photos of the conditions at the time of the accident
  • The police report
  • The names and numbers of any witnesses

We also ask you to gather evidence throughout the case, such as your ongoing medical bills, which serve as proof of your financial loss.

We help you with the evidence collection process. For example, in some cases it is prudent and necessary to hire an accident reconstruction expert to quickly get to the scene of the crime and piece together the true facts of the case. This is especially true in cases where the plaintiff’s injuries are such that they are unable to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. We may also bring in other expert witnesses to help prove the true extent of the impact the accident has had on your life.

There are times when the burden of proof shifts to the defendant instead. This happens when the defendant attempts to raise an “affirmative defense” on their own behalf. For example, they may try to prove that they were not the responsible party or did not hold a duty of care to you, or that your level of comparative negligence was greater than what you’re claiming. This is also true when they try to claim a “collateral source deduction,” that is, claiming that your personal injury award should be smaller because you’ve already received some money for some expenses from other sources. Very few collateral source deductions are allowable under New York Law.

Your case is almost always stronger and you almost always have more and better evidence to present if you involve an attorney quickly. Reach out to RLF to schedule your complimentary case review today.

See also:

Resources for Personal Injury Clients in NYC

Is Your New York Car Accident Case Eligible for a Lawsuit?

What Is New York’s Serious Injury Threshold for Personal Injury Cases? 



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