Satisfying the Burden of Proof
As we stated previously, in the state of Texas, the law does not require a defendant to pay a victim anything after he or she has been injured in a truck accident. The victim, or plaintiff, has to prove the defendant owes him or her compensation. And in order to get that compensation, the victim has to produce compelling evidence to sway a judge or jury. Evidence still needs to be produced even when negotiating an out-of-court settlement; the defendant or the defendant’s insurance provider must be compelled to negotiate in good faith; that won’t happen if you don’t have evidence on your side. In order to meet the burden of proof, you need to establish duty, breach, causation, and damages. These are detailed below.
Duty – The state of Texas has established that everyone owes everyone else a duty of care. In your case, you have to prove the defendant owed you the duty of providing for your safety by behaving in a responsible manner. There are different levels of duty of care that apply in different ways. In the case of motorists, all drivers owe all other drivers a duty of care to drive in a manner that is safe for everyone else on the road. In the case of a truck accident, this is a fairly easy element to establish.
Breach – You must next prove that the defendant (or defendants) breached that duty of care that you were owed. This breach typically occurs when a defendant places others in danger, either through an action that a reasonable person would not be expected to do or through inaction where a reasonable person would be expected to do something. You have to produce evidence that proves the defendant in your case ignored that duty of care either through action or inaction. You will need a seasoned truck accident attorney who is adept at using evidence to convince a judge or jury that the defendant or defendants acted in an unreasonable fashion.
Causation – To establish causation, you must prove that the injury you incurred happened as a direct result of the defendants’ breach of duty. There are, as noted previously, many potentially liable parties in a case involving a truck accident. Because of this, it takes extremely compelling evidence to make the judge or jury believe that defendant’s breach and the subsequent harm that befell you have a causal relationship. That’s an important distinction to make because if you can’t the defendant can defeat your case by shifting blame for your injury to another party. Most of the time, a defendant’s best chance at winning a case is to shift the blame to the plaintiff for causing his or her own injuries through his or her own negligence.
Damages – Successfully establishing the three components mentioned above is not enough to win your case. You must also prove the damages owed to you by the defendant for the injury you have suffered. “Damages,” from a legal standpoint, do not refer to destroyed property or injuries. The term instead means the monetary value assigned to those injuries or property damage. A plaintiff can seek damages for lost wages, pain, and suffering, lost potential earning capacity, property damage, and other losses that were incurred by the plaintiff due to the accident.
But you can’t just show up to court, stick out your hand, ask for a bagful of money and get it. Again, you must bring forth rock-solid evidence that not only proves the losses you have incurred but how you calculated the value of the damages. Usually, a defendant will fight that amount and will provide their own estimated value of damages, and that will obviously be a lesser amount – at least that’s the case the vast majority of the time. However, to prove that the defendant is attempting to shortchange that amount of damages, you must present unassailable evidence to establish those calculations are legitimate. More on this website
Determining the value of those damages can be extremely perplexing for novice lawyers and basically impossible for the layman. Damages such as loss of future earning potential and pain and suffering are basically a matter of opinion, and very much open to interpretation. It’s very, very hard to, basically, put a price tag on pain and suffering, and extremely difficult to estimate lost potential earnings – especially when you try to take into account potential raises in future years and inflation. Again, you get one shot in court to calculate this amount, just as you have but one chance to win the case as a whole. The truck accident lawyers with our Law Offices have been accurately determining the value of damages for 20 years. We have dealt with enough cases that are similar to yours to be able to make an accurate estimate of damages, thereby helping you get the compensation you have coming to you.
If you fail to meet any of the standards associated with any of the four above-mentioned elements, you will lose your case. And with it, any chance you’ll ever have at getting fair restitution for all the physical and emotional trauma you have experienced. There is no alternative – you simply must obtain legal representation. Our attorneys have years of experience pursuing legal action regarding truck accidents, and over those years have learned how to formulate a strong plan to meet all the necessary standards and compel any judge or jury to decide in your favor.