If you have ever suffered a personal injury in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the last thing you were likely worrying about was your legal burden of proof. You were probably far more worried about recovering from your injuries, getting back to earning a living, and facing the build-up of medical bills from the accident. While proving your injuries in a court of law may not be on your mind right now, the reality is that you will carry the burden of proof in any legal proceeding to recover your damages. Below, we discuss the details of that burden and what you will need to prove for a successful personal injury case.
What Burdens of Proof Are Needed for a Personal Injury Case in Rock Hill, South Carolina?
In South Carolina, personal injury is a particular type of tort, or legal wrong, and injured parties are allowed to pursue civil court cases to receive compensation for their injuries. Personal injuries can occur in a wide range of forms, depending on both the contexts and the circumstances within which your injury arose. Some of the most
common personal injuries include:
Slip and fall injuries
Medical malpractice injuries
Injuries suffered from motorcycle and car accidents
Injuries suffered from using defective products
Injuries that occur on recreational locations, such as cruise ships
Pedestrian accident injuries
Injuries suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect
Unlike in a criminal case, you do not have to prove your personal injury claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, you must only prove that it is more likely than not that the other person caused the accident resulting in your injuries. This is true no matter what kind of case you have, be it a car accident, slip and fall, or even medical malpractice.
The burden of proof is the term used for the amount of evidence you must use to prove your accident. The standard in civil court for most personal injury claims is the “preponderance of the evidence.” There are a few exceptions, however. For instance, punitive damages, which punish people for reckless or willful conduct, have to be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Where Do Preexisting Injuries Come in for South Carolina Cases?
You may think that if you were already suffering from an injury prior to your accident that you will have difficulties receiving the compensation you deserve. Preexisting conditions are not a complete bar to recovery in Rock Hill, South Carolina personal injury cases. The law states that injured people should be put back in the same position they were in prior to the accident. If the accident made your preexisting condition worse, you still have the right to financial compensation.
Medical Records as Proof
Medical records and physician testimony are common ways of proving injuries, particularly in car accident cases. For this reason, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as you can after an incident. The sooner you do so, and have the injuries officially recorded by a physician, the harder it is for insurance providers to claim that your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
If you have preexisting injuries, the medical records will be critical to demonstrating your condition before the incident occurred. By comparing medical records both before and after the incident, you can show how the accident aggravated your condition.
Since medical records are an important burden of proof in a personal injury case, you should carefully record every doctor’s appointment, visit to hospital, and rehab session post-accident.
Witnesses as Burdens of Proof
Expert medical witnesses can likewise be called to talk about your injuries and explain how they resulted from the accident. Typically, the experts are medical professionals who have gone through your medical records and can guide a jury through an explanation of how injuries such as yours result from similar accidents.
Besides expert witnesses, your attorney may also call non-experts to testify. These could be friends or members of your family who can talk about your loss of enjoyment and pain and suffering. They can discuss that harm that the accident may have caused you, such as how your daily life has been impacted by your injuries. It is these facts that can acts as important proof in your personal injury case in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Do You Need a Rock Hill, South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney?
The moments following your accident can be disorienting and you may not know where to turn to get the financial help you need to cover your medical or household bills during the recovery period. If you have questions about your case, the team at Elrod Pope Law Firm has ample experience with personal injury cases and will help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to take the first step to receiving full and fair compensation for your personal injuries.