What does “burden of proof” mean and how do you establish it?

In any personal injury case, it is up to the injured person to convince a judge, jury, or insurance adjuster that the person being sued is responsible for causing the injuries. The “burden of proof” refers to just how convinced the judge or jury must be before believing something.
In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove each element of the case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, a plaintiff in a civil personal injury claim has a much lower burden of proof: the plaintiff must only convince the jury that it is “more likely than not” that the facts are what he or she says they are.
“More likely than not,” or “by a preponderance of evidence” basically means the jury thinks the chance the plaintiff’s version of the facts are true is at least 51%, while the chance they are false is no more than 49%.
The defendant is not required to prove his/her version of events is true. When the plaintiff is trying to prove the elements of the case, the defendant does not need to convince the jury of an alternative version — all that is necessary for the case to fail is for the jury to believe that the chances are 50% (or more) that the plaintiff’s version is inaccurate or false.
An exception to this rule is when a defendant is trying to prove an “affirmative defense.” An affirmative defense occurs when the defendant proves additional facts that defeat the plaintiff’s claim. The defendant must also prove the elements of an affirmative defense to be “more likely than not” true.
If you suspect another person or institution’s negligence or direct actions contributed to your injury, pain, medical bills, lost time at work, disability, or other expenses, it is time to explore the possibility of a personal injury suit. Call the J. Gonzalez Law Firm today for a no-obligation consultation on the facts of your particular case.