How To Use Evidence To Win A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Movies and television shows often show lawyers winning cases by appealing to the emotions of the judge or jury and by revealing surprising pieces of information at the trial. In reality, there are strict rules about disclosing your evidence to the judge and to the other party well in advance of the trial; for that matter, most personal injury cases settle without going to trial. Whether or not your case goes to trial, evidence is what determines how much money, if any, the court will award you or the defendant will agree to pay you. A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you gather the strongest evidence and present it in a compelling way in your personal injury case.
The Defendant’s Negligence
The first thing you must do to win a personal injury lawsuit is to prove the defendant’s negligence. In legal terms, negligence means that the defendant had a duty of care, and they breached the duty of care by creating the circumstances that caused your injury. These are some ways that breaches of the duty of care manifest themselves in personal injury lawsuits:
- Drivers have a duty of care to avoid hitting other cars, so violating a traffic law and causing an accident is a breach of that duty.
- Retail companies have a duty of care to keep their stores safe for customers, so if store employees fail to place a “wet floor” sign on a newly mopped floor, causing a customer to slip and get injured, it is a breach of that duty.
- Dog owners have a duty of care to keep their pets on leashes in most public places, so if an unleashed dog bites someone, it is a breach of that duty.
Think of “duty of care” as meaning “duty to be reasonably careful.”
Your Financial Losses
Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits are trying to collect damages, which means payment equal to the amount of money they lost because of the defendant’s negligence. Your medical records and medical bills provide important evidence, but remember that you are not only trying to prove that you got injured. You are also trying to prove that the direct cause of your injuries was the defendant’s negligence.
Standards of Evidence
The good news is that, to win a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff does not have to make the judge or jury 100 percent sure that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of evidence for criminal cases, but not for civil cases like personal injury lawsuits. Instead, you must show a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that your claims are true.
Admissibility of Evidence
Expert witness testimony from physicians plays a key role in most personal injury lawsuits, but there are rules about what expert witnesses can and cannot say. Florida, like most other states, follows the Daubert standard regarding admissibility of medical and scientific expert witness testimony. One of the requirements of the Daubert standard is that the judge must review and approve any evidence the expert witness plans to present before the expert witness can present the evidence to the jury.
Contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert About Presenting an Airtight Case
A personal injury lawyer can help you use evidence to reveal the truth about the causes and effects of your injuries. Contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. in Coral Gables, Florida to discuss your case.