There are two main parts to a personal injury case

There are two main parts to a personal injury case:

1. liability was someone or a company negligent, that is, careless?

2. damages lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, total or partial disability, limitations on one’s daily activities, scarring or disfigurement.

The plaintiff, that is, the one who is suing has the affirmative duty to prove liability and damages.  It is not the obligation of the defendant to disprove anything.

What is the standard of care, the formula, for proving liability and damages in a personal injury case? To answer that question it is important to first say what it is not. There is a general public misconception of what is required in a civil case.

On t.v. we always hear about “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the very high stanard of proof the State must provide to the jury to find  a person guilty in a criminal case.

In a civil case the proof, that is, the standard of care is significantly less:

the plaintiff must prove the negligence is “probable.”

The word probable means that  something, a fact for instance, is “more likely than not” to be true. This standard is not the high , very difficult standard in a criminal case.

“More likely than not” can best be understood by visualizing the scales of justice evenly balanced before you. If  the facts tip the scales of justice ever so slightly  one way or the other than there is proof  that it is “probable” or more likely than not.

Arthur F. Licata


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