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.

Do You Know What to do After a Crash Caused by the Other Driver’s Road Rage?

driver angrily honking car hornOne of the last things you want to have to deal with after a crash is the other driver approaching your vehicle yelling or screaming at you or making threats. Unfortunately, this happens, even though the other driver may be to blame for the crash.

You do not know this person, so it is difficult to know how serious the other driver may be about any threats he or she makes. Even though you do not want to simply sit there and take the verbal abuse, engaging with the other driver could make things worse.

It is important to know how to respond to these situations to stay safe, after all you may already be injured, and you do not want to suffer further injury.

If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, call today to discuss possible legal options with a Bloomington-based car accident lawyer. There are no upfront fees.

Why do Drivers Experience Road Rage?

There are many reasons why someone may experience road rage. For example, drivers who often drive in an aggressive manner may experience road rage. People who speed on a regular basis are more likely to have road rage.

Other reasons people experience road rage include:

  • Stress caused by personal relationships or a driver’s job
  • Feeling the need to punish other drivers for their bad habits
  • Taking things personally, such as being cut off by another driver
  • Mental health issues, like Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which involves repeated, sudden angry outbursts or violent behavior
  • Driving while tired or after having consumed alcohol

How Road Rage Can Lead to a Crash

It is important to note there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage. Someone can drive in an aggressive manner without experiencing road rage. The difference is those having a bout of road rage intend to do harm to others by using their vehicle as a weapon.

For example, many people speed, but they are not all experiencing road rage. However, if someone intentionally tailgates another vehicle with the intent to scare the driver or cause a rear-end crash, it is an example of road rage.

Other examples of road rage include:

  • Yelling at another driver or making threats
  • Honking out of anger or annoyance with another driver
  • Gesturing angrily at other drivers
  • Intentionally cutting another car off
  • Getting out of your vehicle to confront another driver
  • Ramming another vehicle on purpose
  • Preventing another car from changing lanes
  • Brake-checking other drivers
  • Trying to run another vehicle off the road

All these things could potentially lead to a crash that injures another driver. Road rage could also cause other drivers to act aggressively, potentially putting others at risk for a crash.

What if I Get into a Crash Because of Road Rage?

You should take steps to try to prevent the situation from escalating. If the other driver approaches you, do not make eye contact and do not get out of your car. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. You should also lock your doors.

It can be difficult to simply sit there listening to someone call you names or make threats, but if you engage, you risk making things worse.

When you call the police, tell the dispatcher if the other driver is confronting you or is angry and making threats.

Sometimes it may be best to drive to the nearest police station instead of pulling over. Hopefully, this results in the driver calming down, but if not, the police will be around to help protect you.

Are There Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Road Rage?

There is no foolproof way to avoid ever becoming a victim of road rage – you cannot control the actions of other drivers. However, there are some things you can do that may reduce your risk:

  • Avoid getting overly angry with other drivers – There is no need to take the actions of other drivers personally. Avoid making eye contact or gesturing at other drivers, as this could cause the situation to escalate.
  • Try to be considerate of the drivers around you – This means avoiding distractions, avoiding tailgating other vehicles, and making sure to check your blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Never pull over and bring your car to a stop ­– There is no way to know how a situation may escalate. If you stop your car, you are giving the other driver a chance to get out and confront you, and potentially initiate physical violence against you. You do not know if this person has a gun or other weapon.
  • Never drive to your home or place of work if an angry driver is following you – You do not want to show this person where you live or work.
  • Avoid using your horn – You should only use this if you are trying to prevent a crash. People can get very angry when they are honked at, particularly if someone holds down the horn for more than a second or two.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Case Review

After a crash involving a driver who has road rage, you may not be sure what to do or who may be able to help you. That is why talking to an experienced attorney can be an important step. You may be eligible for compensation for medical bills for treating any injuries caused by the crash as well as other damages that were caused by an angry driver.

For nearly 20 years, TSR Injury Law has helped crash victims in Minnesota pursue the compensation they need and have recovered millions on their behalf.

We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything up front or while we work to build your case.

Call today to learn more about our services. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.

How Does Attorney-Client Privilege Benefit Injury Victims?

folder with confidential informationProtecting one’s privacy is a growing concern in our society. It is important to be cautious about any information you reveal because you never know how it may be used against you later. Fortunately, injury victims who hire an attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege.

You may have heard that term before, but do you know what it means in practice? How does attorney-client privilege protect you and your claim?

Below, the experienced attorneys at TSR Injury Law discuss how attorney-client privilege benefits you as you pursue compensation after a personal injury. If you have any questions about your claim, you can contact our firm to schedule a free initial consultation. The things you discuss in a free consultation are kept confidential, which means there is no risk to you.

Defining Attorney-Client Privilege

When you seek legal advice from a Bloomington personal injury attorney, your discussion is protected by attorney-client privilege and cannot be shared with someone else without your written consent. There are some exceptions to this, but this is generally what attorney-client privilege means in practice.

Conversations and other communications (emails, phone calls, letters, etc.) with your attorney are protected if they satisfy four criteria:

  • There is an attorney-client relationship between you and your lawyer
  • Your lawyer was acting in his or her professional capacity when communicating with you
  • The purpose of you talking to your lawyer was to obtain legal advice
  • You had an expectation this conversation would be kept confidential

Benefits of Attorney-Client Privilege

This provides obvious benefits to injury victims. You can discuss any aspect of your claim with your attorney and it will be kept confidential. This frees people up to be open and upfront about the many details involved in an injury claim.

For example, you can discuss a preexisting injury and find out how it may impact your claim. It is understandable to be concerned about a preexisting medical issue (this is the kind of thing insurance companies try to use against injury victims), but this will be kept between you and your attorney.

By letting your attorney know, he or she will be prepared to deal with this issue when it arises, and it likely will. If you wait or try to hide this issue, it will be more difficult for your attorney to deal with it and preserve the value of your claim. You can feel free to discuss this issue with your attorney because it is protected by attorney-client privilege.

Attorney-client privilege also benefits injury victims during the discovery process. Knowing conversations are confidential helps make people more comfortable sharing a lot of information about the case. This may help the attorney build a strong case.

When Might Attorney-Client Privilege Not Apply?

Lawyers are prohibited from discussing things that were covered by attorney-client privilege and courts do not have the authority to force attorneys to discuss those things. Generally, attorney-client privilege cannot be waived unless the client does so. That said, if you tell your lawyer you are planning to commit a crime, he or she is required to report it.

You should also know the things you post to social media are not strictly between you and your lawyer. They are not covered by attorney-client privilege. That is why your lawyer may ask you to limit what you post on social media as it could be used against you. If you send emails to your lawyer, make sure to do it from your own personal account. If you send an email from your work email address it may not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

It is important to remember only private conversations are covered by attorney-client privilege. If you talk to your lawyer with someone else in the room, attorney-client privilege may not apply. If you have any questions about this, it is important to ask your lawyer. At TSR Injury Law, we understand your privacy concerns and are committed to maintaining confidentiality.

Learn How Our Firm Can Help You. Call Today

We have helped many car crash victims in Minnesota obtain compensation for their damages. We are experienced negotiators who are also prepared to go to court if the insurance company does not offer fair compensation.

We are here to help you and answer your questions. The initial consultation is free, and it comes with no requirement to hire our firm. If we validate your claim, and you choose to hire us, there will be no upfront fees. We will not be paid unless you get paid.

Have questions? Call today to schedule your free consultation (612) TSR-TIME