Almost everyone suffers injury at some time in life. But not every injury justifies a legal claim. Some injuries are the result of unavoidable accidents that are no one’s fault, because of age or due to other causes outside of human control. But when someone else is legally at fault for your injury accident, you have the right to a legal claim and grounds to use. The question is when do you have a civil case and what do you need to prove your claim?
When you have the grounds to sue, your legal claim will be made through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance action. Such a case allows you to recover compensation for your damages suffered because of the injury when someone else is responsible for having caused the accident or creating the circumstances that led to the injury. You file this type of claim to recover compensation for your injuries, such as damages from lost wages and medical expenses. You also may gain compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress, if those are appropriate.
Making Your Case
To substantiate your injury claim through a lawsuit or insurance claim, you need to prove the other party was negligent. This means they breached legal duty they owed to you and that the breach resulted in your accident and injuries. You also need to prove that you suffered actual damages because of the injury. A personal injury lawyer will educate you on all the details pertaining to your case.
Under personal injury law the burden of proof is on your shoulders, as the person making the claim. If your case goes to trial, this legal standard is by a preponderance of the evidence. This means you have to prove to a jury or the judge that it is most likely that everything you allege is true, regarding your injuries and their cause, as well as the defendant’s liability. Most cases don’t go to trial, let alone reaching a verdict. But when you are planning to file a claim, you should think about these needs to assess the strength of your case.
Not every injury case will come down to the question of negligence. This is true when your injury was caused by a product defect, workplace accident or intentional act. In these types of cases, your claim follows different rules. An example of this is a worker’s compensation claim under state laws and procedures, if you suffer injury while at work. Most workplace accidents bar the injured employee from suing his or her employer.
Evidence Needed to Prove Your Claim
So what kind of evidence do you need to prove your case, if your lawsuit requires you to establish the other party’s negligence? Some types of evidence for these cases include:
- Police report for a car accident, documenting the circumstances and cause of the accident
- Slip and fall incident report by a store, restaurant or other business where the injury occurred
- Eyewitness statements attesting to injury details: the when, where and how of your injuries
- Accident scene photographs and other evidence documenting your injury cause and circumstances
- Medical treatment records, such as for emergency service, hospital visits, physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists
- Missed work time documentation with records showing your income for a lost wages claim
- Doctor or medical expert testimony about injury cause – such as a doctor or another medical expert’s testimony regarding the impact of your car accident or fall as having caused a herniated disc or other injury, and that it was not a pre-existing or unrelated injury
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Having enough evidence for a lawsuit is important. This is tricky, if you are not sure what evidence you need and how to obtain it. This is just one of many reasons why it is best to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, one who can help you decide whether your case is justified and help you prove it.