Burden of Proof in a Civil Personal Injury Case Claim - AA Law

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What is The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim?

March 4, 2024 Alan Ahdoot
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Understanding the burden of proof in a civil personal injury case is critical in all litigation. But it is especially important in personal injury claims.

When you suffer an injury due to another person’s negligence or harmful action, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. But to secure a favorable outcome for your case, you must prove certain elements and establish that the other party is liable for your injuries. 

If you want to learn how to meet the burden of proof for your personal injury case, we’re here to help.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what the burden of proof is, how it works, and what it requires of plaintiffs and defendants. We’ll also explore how plaintiffs like you will successfully meet the burden of proof. 

Read on to how you can support your claims with the right evidence. 

What is The Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof is the level of evidence you must present to win a favorable outcome in your claim. It’s an evidentiary threshold that varies from one case to another. Think of it as a scale that measures the validity of your claims, ranging from 0 to 100. 

There are three types of burdens of proof used in judicial proceedings:

Preponderance of Evidence

The preponderance of evidence requires plaintiffs to prove that their version of events is more likely than not accurate. Using the scale mentioned earlier, this equates to a threshold of 51% or more certainty. 

This is the standard of proof for most civil cases, including those that involve personal injury, and is the lowest of all three burdens. 

Clear & Convincing Evidence

This burden of proof requires the plaintiff to present compelling evidence to support their claims. Unlike preponderance of evidence, clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard of proof. 

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is typically used in criminal trials. It’s the highest burden of proof requiring plaintiffs to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Burden of Proof in a Civil Personal Injury Case

The burden of proof in a civil action lawsuit is on the plaintiff or the person who filed the claim. You have to prove that the defendant was negligent and should be liable for your injuries by a preponderance of evidence. 

But what about the defendant? In the context of personal injury cases, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff’s version of events is not as accurate as they claim. 

They don’t have to establish their narrative of the incident. All they have to do is challenge the plaintiff’s story and convince the jury they’re unsure if it’s the truth.

With this in mind, injured victims like you must build your case carefully. Since the burden of proof rests on your shoulders, you must present enough evidence to tip the scale in your favor. 

Person pointing at a board full of documents as burden of proof in a civil case.
The burden of proof for civil cases like personal injury lawsuits lies on the plaintiff. 

Meeting The Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Negligence is the most common claim for civil cases like personal injury. To meet the burden of proof, you must present evidence for each element of negligence.  

The five primary elements of negligence are as follows:

Duty of Care

The first thing you must prove in a negligence claim is that the defendant owed you a legal duty of care. 

Duty of care typically emerges when there’s a relationship between two parties. According to the law, everyone must exhibit reasonable care or caution to avoid causing harm to others. 

For example, drivers owe other motorists a duty of care while on the road. They must adhere to traffic rules and maintain a safe speed to prevent causing accidents

Breach of Duty

Breach of duty happens when a person fails to fulfill their duty of care or exhibits behavior that doesn’t meet the expected standard of care. 

If a driver fails to use their turn signals when switching lanes, it can be considered a breach of their duty. Turn signals are essential safety tools designed to help drivers communicate their intentions on the road. Failure to use them compromises the safety of every other motorist. 


Causation is a crucial component of negligence. You must prove that your injuries were the direct result of the defendant’s negligence. If there’s no link between the other party’s action and your injuries, you won’t be able to file a claim successfully. 

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause refers to the foreseeability of the damages you’ve suffered. A defendant will only be liable for the damages they would’ve anticipated at the time of the incident. 

Going back to our earlier example, most drivers know that speeding is dangerous, yet continue to do it anyway. 


Lastly, to successfully get compensation in a personal injury claim, you must prove that you suffered compensable losses. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and other similar damages. 

Some of the most common types of evidence used to meet the burden of proof in personal injury cases include:

  • Testimony: As the plaintiff, you can provide testimonies to support your claim. However, if the nature of your case is more complicated, expert testimony will be invaluable to your case. 
  • Employment & Wage Records: If you have plans to include lost wages in your claim, you must present your employment and wage records. 
  • Documents: Your medical records, incident reports, journals, photos, and other similar correspondence are crucial to your case. These documents will help solidify your claim. 

Let A Personal Injury Attorney Help You

There’s no denying that meeting the burden of proof for personal injury claims is difficult. You must ensure that your evidence is strong enough to convince the jury to rule in your favor. 

If you’re having trouble gathering evidence for your claims, Adamson Ahdoot’s personal injury attorneys are here to help you. 

Adamson Ahdoot is one of Los Angeles’ premier civil litigation firms specializing in personal injury claims. With a combined legal experience of over 100 years, our personal injury attorneys will help you build a robust case that will solidify the validity of your claims. 

To learn more about our services, visit our website here or call us at (800) 310-1606 to book a free consultation with one of our premier lawyers. 

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