To prove your personal injury claims in court and be awarded compensation, we must meet the burden of proof. Doing so is often difficult, even in cases with strong evidence.
The burden of proof in a personal injury case in Arkansas is a preponderance of the evidence. To sum it up, proving your case by a preponderance of the evidence means proving that the defendant is more likely than not liable for your injuries. To meet this burden, we must not only produce evidence that supports your claims but persuade the judge and jury that the evidence proves the defendant is liable. In certain cases, there might be additional burdens to meet, usually in situations involving punitive damages. In those cases, our team can help you meet the additional burdens and get the compensation you need.
Filing a personal injury case may be a great way to cover your expenses after an injury. Our Arkansas personal injury attorneys can help you meet the burdens necessary to get compensation. For a free case assessment, call our team at (479) 316-0438.
The Burden of Proof in Arkansas Personal Injury Lawsuits
In a personal injury case, as with many other civil lawsuits, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. It is important to distinguish this from the burden of proof in criminal trials, which requires prosecutors to prove their case beyond a reasonable double. The burden in a criminal case is much higher than in civil lawsuits because someone’s freedom and life are on the line.
Proving a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt requires proof almost to a certainty, and there should be no room for realistic or reasonable doubts about guilt. In a personal injury trial, we need only prove that the defendant is more likely than not liable for your injuries. To think of it another way, we have to prove our case by more than 50% to be successful.
Meeting the burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit is not easy, even though it is a lower burden than in criminal trials. Evidence is often hard to come by, and jurors are not always easily convinced. Our Bella Vista personal injury attorneys can help you meet your burden and get the financial compensation you need for your injuries.
How to Meet the Burden of Proof in an Arkansas Personal Injury Case
Meeting the burden of proof in a personal injury case requires that we not only produce evidence to the trier of fact but also make persuasive arguments regarding evidence and liability. This is not easy, and even seasoned attorneys sometimes have trouble finding sufficient evidence or figuring out the most persuasive arguments. Our Washington County, AR personal injury attorneys can help you do both and get justice for the harm you have endured.
Producing evidence requires finding evidence to help us prove your claims and ensuring that it meets the relevant admissibility standards. Much important evidence might come directly from the accident scene where you were injured. Taking pictures or recording videos of the accident scene and surrounding areas immediately after you are injured can help preserve details and evidence that would otherwise be lost. Medical records can also be used to establish the severity of your injuries, and witnesses can testify about any first-hand knowledge of how you were hurt.
Having this evidence is not enough. We have to know how to use the evidence to convince a judge or jury that the defendant should be held liable for your injuries. To be successful, our evidence must be persuasive and convince the court that the defendant, more likely than not, is responsible for your injuries.
Sometimes, evidence is very strong and persuasive on its own. At other times, we might have to elaborate on the context of the evidence and combine it with other pieces of evidence to form a complete picture of your injuries. Even if the evidence is admissible, that does not necessarily mean it will help you meet the burden of proof. Persuasive arguments and explanations are a must if you are to win your case.
Other Burdens of Proof in Arkansas Personal Injury Cases
To win your case, we must prove the defendant’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. In addition to the burden we must meet to win the overall lawsuit, there are sometimes other burdens we must meet to achieve other objectives. For example, plaintiffs claiming punitive damages must meet other burdens to get compensation. Our Rogers personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you can claim punitive damages and how you can meet the requisite burden of proof.
To be awarded punitive damages, we must prove one of two elements according to Arkansas Code § 16-55-206. First, we must show that the defendant knew or should have known that their conduct would naturally or likely cause injury or damage and that the defendant continued their conduct out of malice or with a reckless disregard for the consequences. Alternatively, we must prove that the defendant intentionally pursued a course of action for the purpose of causing harm or damage.
The burden of proof for punitive damages requires that we prove the above elements with clear and convincing evidence. This burden is higher than the normal burden of proof in personal injury cases. While a preponderance of the evidence requires that we show it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable, this is not enough to meet the burden of proof for punitive damages.
Clear and convincing evidence is harder to meet and requires our evidence to be more definitive, leaving less room for doubt or questions. Our Arkansas personal injury attorneys can help you gather the needed evidence and make effective legal arguments to help you get punitive damages.
Call Our Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
The burden of proof is the bug hurdle you have to clear before the court awards you damages for your injuries. Meeting the burden is never easy, but our Johnson personal injury lawyers can help you. For a free case assessment, call our team at (479) 316-0438.