In Texas, the burden of proof in personal injury cases refers to the responsibility of providing evidence that proves each element of your case. In a personal injury claim, the burden of proof—or legal responsibility to prove an assertion—falls on the plaintiff. This means that it is up to the person making the claim to provide evidence that supports their case and proves fault. The defendant does not have to prove anything; they simply have to successfully dispute the plaintiff’s claims. The burden of proof in a personal injury case can be difficult to understand, so let’s take a closer look at what it means.
Different Levels of Proof:
- “Beyond a reasonable doubt”: This standard applies in criminal cases. You want to be sure that the person charged actually committed the crime at issue because of the seriousness of the consequences of convicting an innocent person. This high standard never applies to civil cases.
- “Preponderance of the evidence”: This standard applies to the burden of proof in most civil cases. This means that you only have to prove that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff met all of the required elements of the case. In other words, the jury must be 51% sure that the plaintiff showed all of the facts of the case.
- “Clear and convincing evidence”: There are some cases where a higher standard of proof is needed. This means that you will need to provide more evidence than usual to prove your case. The exact amount of evidence required is unclear, but it will be more than the usual amount.
The plaintiff always has the burden of proof, but in some cases, it may shift back and forth between the two parties. For example, if the defendant is raising certain types of defenses, the defendant will have the burden of proof on that particular defense. Even where there is this shift, however, the plaintiff still has the heavier burden.
What Must the Plaintiff Prove in a Personal Injury Case?
1. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent.
In order to win a personal injury case in Texas, the plaintiff must first prove that the defendant was negligent. Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. There are many ways in which a person can be negligent, but some common examples include texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and failing to properly maintain a vehicle.
2. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Once the plaintiff has proven that the defendant was negligent, they must then prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. This is known as causation. In order to establish causation, the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that their injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence.
3. The plaintiff must prove that their injuries resulted in damages.
Finally, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries resulted in damages. Damages are defined as any type of harm that has been inflicted on a person, whether it be physical, emotional, or financial. Some common examples of damages include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Burden of Proof Synonyms
Onus, Onus probandi, responsibility