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After and auto accident, the injured party decides not to settle for liability limits and takes the at fault person to court....

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

After and auto accident, the injured party decides not to settle for insurance liability limits and takes the at fault person to court. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant is liable. If the defendant claims to be innocent, not responsible, or not liable at all for the plaintiffs injuries, what does the defendant have to do to prove he / she is not liable ?

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

The plaintiff has the burden of proof in order to recover damages. Generally that means that the first thing plaintiff must prove is that the defendant was negligent or at fault for causing the accident. The plaintiff then must also prove that the injuries claimed were caused by the accident, that the cost of past medical treatment was reasonable and necessary, the cost of medical treatment reasonably certain to be incurred due to the injuries in the future, the past income lost as a result of the injuries, and the lost income reasonably certain to be incurred in the future. The plaintiff must also prove his past and future pain and suffering. It is for the jury to determine whether the plaintiff has met his burden of proof as to some or all of these items and how much to include in the verdict for each item.

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Asker

Posted

What happens if the plaintiff was hit by another driver and that driver left the scene and he could not identify the driver and decided to blame the defendant for the accident because he drove a similar car. Does the defendant have the right to prove he is not liable for the accident by way of a fraudulent claim ?

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

Posted

Certainly the defendant can offer evidence that he/she was not involved in the collision the plaintiff alleges he was involved in. If there is evidence that the plaintiff is intentionally blaming the wrong party, then that should be allowed into evidence for the jury to consider as well.

Asker

Posted

What can the defendant do to the plaintiff if he can prove the plaintiff intentionally blamed the defendant for a crime that he did not commit ?

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

Posted

If the jury gives a defense verdict, you may be able to sue for "malicious prosecution". You should talk to an attorney in your area after the trial.

Asker

Posted

Thank you!

Posted

Defendants never have to prove anything at trial unless they file affirmative defenses. All a defendant must do to win at trial is for the Plaintiff to NOT prove any element of his/her case. If a defendant files an affirmative defense (such as the plaintiff failed to stop at a red light) then the Defendant must prove that fact by testimony, photographs or other competent evidence.

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Robert Don Fink

Robert Don Fink

Posted

Also, it sounds like you (presumably you are the defendant in the case) had insurance and the insurance company offered the policy limits. In most states, your personal assets may be at risk if an excess judgment (award higher than the policy limits) is entered against you. That likely triggers your right to independent legal counsel… which is your insurance company may have to pay for. You need to speak with a local lawyer to ensure your rights and personal assets are protected

Asker

Posted

What happens if the plaintiff was hit by another driver and that driver left the scene and could not identify the other driver and decided to blame the defendant for the accident because he drove a similar car. Does the defendant have the right to prove he is not liable for the accident by way of a fraudulent claim ?

Robert Don Fink

Robert Don Fink

Posted

Even in the situation you describe, the Plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant was the driver of the vehicle which he claims caused his injuries. However, as a matter of strategy, I would suggest that the defendant put on evidence that he was elsewhere and therefore it could not have been him. The burden would not be on the defendant to prove that fact; rather it would be evidence suggesting that the Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof. Now, after all that… If you don’t have lawyer defending you on the case… get one. You will need him/her.

Asker

Posted

So, under this type of situation, if the plaintiff fails to meet his burden of proof, the plaintiff does not get rewarded and walks away ?

Asker

Posted

Very good ! Thanks for that explanation!

Asker

Posted

My brother received a letter stating that he was at fault for an accident after rear ending a passenger truck that hit their brakes too hard and my brother did not have enough stopping distance. The letter said the insurance provider of the truck owner found him at fault for the accident and demanded $10,000 in restitution. Without consulting a lawyer or allowing the case to go to court, my brother sent an installment payment of $100. From what I understand, sending payment can be considered admittance of fault. He has been paying installments on the accident for a few years now and recently lost his job and much needed healthcare which pays for his transplant rejection medication.He has no assets, earns minimum wage, and needs to pay $400 a month for medications. He also has a daughter and girlfriend to provide for. My problem with this is that no trial occurred, no evidence given or any proof of it being entirely his fault was presented. Nor was any evidence that the other driver was harmed. What would happen if he stops sending payments? I plan on advising his girlfriend to demand child-support to protect his few wages from wage garnishments.

Posted

The plaintiff has the burden of proving the case, not the defendant. Your lawyer should have this under control, but if you don't have a personal injury lawyer, get one.

The answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is for informational purposes only.

Lassen Law Firm
1515 Market St #1510
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-510-6755
http://www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Posted

In a civil case, are all the facts about the case from both sides allowed to be brought up in a court room ?

Asker

Posted

Thanks

Posted

The injured party should do an asset check on the defendant prior to not accepting the policy limits.
http://www.phillyinjurylawyer.com/

Please note that we are not forming an attorney - client relationship and the advice is meant to be general. Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky 1616 Walnut Street Suite 2110 Philadelphia, PA 19103 http://www.phillyinjurylawyer.com/

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Posted

As one of the responses points out, the Plaintiff should make sure that the Defendant is not judgment proof before proceeding with the civil lawsuit. Otherwise, a judgment against a defendant with no assets will probably result in little more than unpaid legal fees for Plaintiff.

Also, note that receiving a judgment and collecting on one are two very distinct things, and the latter just may be as complex (if not more) and cumbersome an effort as the former. In short, there are various considerations to take into account before declining the insurance company's offer for liability limits.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for your response ! What if the there are facts in a case that if brought out in a court room could hurt the plaintiff and risk not only the liability limits but, also bring possible malicious prosecution charges against them. Would it be wise to proceed taking that chance or just settle for the liability limits and try to get the UM money as well ?

Edgar Martirosyan

Edgar Martirosyan

Posted

I'm having a difficult time understanding your question. If the injured party is the the one bringing the suit (the Plaintiff), and you are implying that this party may be involved in malicious prosecution, then who's the one who is considering whether to accept the policy limits offer? Your question is unclear as to what it is that you're asking. You should consult an attorney as to what would be the best approach. However, and as stated above, you should keep in mind that if one of the party's is judgment proof, then the other will essentially have little to no recourse in attempting to collect on any judgment awarded.

Posted

Really Nothing.

However, this case is a civil trial and the burden of proof is merely the "greater weight" of evidence. That is sometimes explained as 51%. So, with that as the rule, a defendant might want to hire it's own doctor to evaluate the injuries/plaintiff - maybe an accident reconstructionist if liability is an issue...

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for that response ! Does the defendant have the right to provide affirmative defenses to show he / she is not responsible for the accident ?

Jason M. Melton

Jason M. Melton

Posted

Aff. Defenses are allowed pursuant to the rules of procedure and local rules of the judge you are with.

Asker

Posted

I see ! I guess that is where a qualified civil defense lawyer would come into the picture in order to follow those rules of procedure. I hear some lawyers, down here in south florida, can be very political. Can they set their own rules in a courtroom ? Thanks

Jason M. Melton

Jason M. Melton

Posted

Some courts create Administrative orders which act as local rules of procedure and sometimes even advance rulings on frequent substantive legal issues. Again, that's why you hire competent counsel to guide you through these issues.

Asker

Posted

I meant to say " Judges" and not lawyers but, I understand what you are saying ! Thanks

Jason M. Melton

Jason M. Melton

Posted

you're welcome, good luck

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