Why Victims Have the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim

chalkboard with burden of proof written on itWhen people get injured because of another person’s negligence or reckless conduct, they may be able to recover compensation for damages that occur. However, victims cannot recover compensation unless they prove their injuries were a direct result of the other party’s negligence.

In other words, the burden of proof in these claims falls on the victim. The victim needs to provide evidence for his or her claim and evidence of the damages he or she suffered. If the case makes it to trial, the jury will need to decide if the victim’s claims are true based on the preponderance of the evidence.

Below, the experienced lawyers at TSR Injury Law discuss the burden of proof in personal injury claims. One of the most important takeaways for injured victims is that proving a case is a complex task that requires extensive knowledge of the law. You also need an experienced attorney who has handled a variety of cases.

At our firm, we have advocated for the injured for decades. We have secured more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients in Minnesota. Our Bloomington personal injury attorneys charge no upfront fees, and we manage each part of the legal process on your behalf.

Free consultation. Call to discuss your claim: (612) TSR-TIME.

Defining the Burden of Proof

One way to think about the burden of proof is that it is the minimum standard you must satisfy to legally establish a fact in court.

The minimum standard varies depending on the type of case. For example, in a criminal case the standard is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, such as a personal injury case, the standard is the preponderance of evidence. Injured victims must prove the different elements of their case by the preponderance of the evidence.

Another way to think about the term preponderance of the evidence is that what you are claiming is more likely than not. If a jury believes a plaintiff’s claims are at least 51 percent true, the victim has met the preponderance of the evidence standard.

Why is the Burden of Proof on the Victim?

The burden of proof is on the victim in a personal injury claim because he or she is the one seeking compensation for damages. The defendant, which is often an insurance company in a personal injury case, is not obligated to prove their version of events is true. They can simply attack the evidence and argue it is not true.

It can be helpful to imagine if the roles in your case were reversed. What if another party is claiming you caused them to be injured even though you did not? Proving something did not happen is difficult. Therefore, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that you caused them to be injured.

The way this is set up helps to protect people from potentially being taken advantage of. Although many people are injured due to the negligence of others, there are people who attempt to commit fraud and take advantage of people who did not do anything wrong.

Satisfying the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case

In a personal injury case, you must prove negligence occurred. Negligence is a legal concept that has four elements.

Duty of Care

You must establish that the at-fault party owed you an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent you from getting injured. For example, drivers have an obligation to follow the rules of the road and not engage in reckless behaviors. A specific example of this is not driving while drunk.

Breach of a Duty of Care

When someone does not uphold a duty of care, it is said they breached the duty of care. Their actions or, in some cases their inaction, caused a duty of care to be breached.

If a driver could have avoided a collision by hitting his or her brakes and he or she failed to do so, it could be said that his or her inaction caused a duty of care to be breached.


This element could be considered the crux of a personal injury case. You need to draw a direct link between the breached duty of care and your injuries. You need to show that you would not have been injured had it not been for the negligence of the party you are seeking compensation from.  For example, if you were in a crash but were already scheduled to have neck surgery, it would be difficult to argue the crash caused the need for the surgery.

Existence of Damages

Even if there was a breach of the duty of care, there is no case unless you can prove you suffered damages. If you do not have medical expenses or lost wages, there is no case. The defendant may have acted negligently, but the purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for damages suffered due to the negligence of another party. If there are no damages, there is no compensation to recover. If a drunk driver hits you, but you are not injured, you do not get a claim for injuries because “I could have been hurt.”

Challenges of Building a Strong Case

There are various pieces of evidence you will need to prove your case and have a chance to successfully recover compensation. For example, you need evidence of your damages, including:

  • Medical records showing your diagnosis and relevant test results
  • Evidence of the wages you lost while you were unable to work
  • Documentation of the damage to your vehicle and the cost to repair the damage

You must also provide evidence of the breached duty of care and evidence connecting the breach to the injuries you suffered. This can be the most challenging part of a personal injury claim. This is often done with evidence like pictures from the scene, pictures of your injuries, documentation of the opinion of your treating doctor, eyewitness testimony if it is available, and potentially more, like:

  • Testimony from expert witnesses, such as medical experts and accident reconstruction experts
  • Video footage of the crash
  • Statements from the victim and others in his or her life about the injuries

As building a case is a complex process. There are so many details to think about that it is best to leave the case in the hands of an experienced lawyer who has been through the process many times before.

Injured victims who attempt to go through the process on their own do not consider all the things that can come up during a case. At TSR, we are prepared because we have been representing the injured in Minnesota for decades.

Contact TSR Injury Law Today to Learn More About Our Services

The burden of proof in an injury claim falls on the victim. The good news is you do not need to build a case on your own. You have the right to hire an attorney to help you.

Your choice of an attorney is an important decision. You need a lawyer who has proven results and has the resources and legal knowledge to guide you through each stage of the process.

There are no upfront fees for our services. The initial consultation is free of charge.

TSR Injury Law is here to help injured victims. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

What is in a Settlement Demand Letter to the Insurance Company?

paperwork with pen on topWhile there are personal injury cases that end up in court, most reach a resolution after the victim and the liable insurance company agree on a settlement. Sometimes victims deal with the insurance company themselves, but if you hire an attorney, he or she is going to send a settlement demand letter to the insurance company.

The settlement demand requests that the insurance company provide compensation for the victim’s damages. Below, we discuss these letters in greater detail, along with the benefits of having an experienced attorney negotiating for the compensation you need.

If you have questions about the legal process or are unsure if you have a case, give us a call today. We are ready to help you during this difficult time, and we do not charge upfront fees.

TSR Injury Law. Experienced attorneys ready to assist you. (612) TSR-TIME

What Does a Demand Letter Include?

While the details of each demand letter are different, they all have certain elements. For example, the demand letter will identify all the parties involved in the claim, including the insurance company, the victim, and the at-fault party. If an insurance adjuster has been assigned to the case, this person’s name and contact information will also be included.

These details need to be included so the other parties besides the victim are notified of the claim and can respond.

Other elements of a demand letter include:

Description of the Incident That Caused Your Injuries

This is one of the most important parts of the demand letter. This section explains what happened, how and why you got injured and why the other party should be held liable for the damages you suffered.

The description of the incident often includes medical records, the police report and statements from those who witnessed the crash. The demand letter may also include pictures of your injuries and pictures from the scene of the crash.

The information in this portion of the letter needs to be descriptive and factual.

Summary of Your Damages

The demand letter also lists the damages you suffered in the crash and explains how the crash has affected you.

Damages may include:

  • The cost of medical initial basic treatment
  • Cost of surgery or medical testing
  • Cost of all future medical care that will be needed
  • Emotional distress from being severely injured
  • Past and future pain and suffering documentation
  • Prescription medication past and future costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Any other related damages you can document

Your attorney will include documentation to support your damages, including receipts and bills detailing your expenses. Non-economic damages will need to be explained in detail because there are no bills or receipts for these damages.

Your attorney may need you to keep a journal in which you explain the psychological damage caused by your injuries. For example, victims may explain the trauma of not being able to take part in the activities they once enjoyed. They may also describe how their injuries have damaged their relationship with their spouse. Other details in the journal may help to explain how the pain and limitations caused by the injury affect the victim each day.

Compensation Demand

The demand letter tells the insurance company how much compensation is being sought and what will happen if the demands are not met. The letters often say the victim intends to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to meet the demand.

What Demand Letters Do Not Include

While there are many elements of a demand letter, there are certain things that should not be included in these documents. For example, you do not want the letter to make an unreasonable demand for compensation.

You also do not want the letter to have an extremely detailed description of the crash because it could be challenged. For example, you do not want to have statements that contradict the police report.

Other items that should not be included in your demand letter are any statements that could be perceived as admissions of fault.

Writing a detailed demand letter is complicated. However, this is just one reason why you should hire an experienced Bloomington car accident attorney to manage your claim. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law have obtained compensation from many insurance companies and we know how to draft an effective demand letter.

We are also experienced negotiators, so we know how to determine the compensation demand that is appropriate for a claim. You do not want to start too low or too high. Often, the insurance company responds to this with a counteroffer that is much lower than your original demand. Typically, insurers and the attorney for the victim go back and forth until they reach agreement on a settlement.

There is a strategy to negotiating for compensation and this is something that victims should leave up to an attorney with a proven track record.

TSR is Here to Assist Injured Victims. Call to Learn More

If you were injured by another’s negligence, you need an experienced law firm to help you seek justice and compensation. You should not decide about a settlement offer until you speak with an attorney.

TSR Injury Law has been taking on insurance companies for decades, and we have obtained hundreds of millions for our clients. We have the resources and experience to build a strong case. We also work on contingency, which means you do not pay us up front.

No upfront fees. No fees while working on your case. Call (612) TSR-TIME.