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

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 ?

Fort Lauderdale, FL -

Attorney Answers (6)

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Roseville, CA
Answered

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.

Robert Don Fink

Robert Don Fink

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Chicago, IL
Answered

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.

Joel Jay Kofsky

Joel Jay Kofsky

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA
Answered

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.... more
Edgar Martirosyan

Edgar Martirosyan

Personal Injury Lawyer - Encino, CA
Answered

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.

Jason M. Melton

Jason M. Melton

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Saint Petersburg, FL
Answered

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...

Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA
Answered

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

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