The burden of proof in a personal injury claim refers to the responsibility of the injured party to demonstrate their injury was someone else’s fault. Even when this seems fairly cut and dried, establishing liability, determining fault, and proving what injuries were caused by an accident can be extremely complicated. Fuller & Fuller has spent more than 50 years refining this process for our clients.
Founded by Herbert and Carol Fuller in 1972, our firm has stood the test of time by adjusting constantly to shifts in the legal landscape. Now, led by accident and injury specialist Marya Fuller, our firm has the resources, background, and drive to thoroughly investigate injuries caused by someone’s negligence, identify all liable parties, and help you seek the justice you are due.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an accident, Fuller & Fuller is here to help. Call our office at (800) 570-4878 to schedule your FREE case review today. We welcome clients from Tacoma, Olympia, Tumwater, Lakewood, Centralia, Shelton, Puyallup, and all surrounding areas of Washington.
The Burden of Proof and Washington Personal Injury Claims
The burden of proof is the burden borne by the plaintiff to show that 1) the defendant acted negligently and 2) the plaintiff was injured as a result of this negligence. This often requires collecting and processing various types of evidence, including:
- Medical Records to prove the extent and nature of injuries.
- Police Reports for details on the accident and any citations issued.
- Eyewitness Testimonies to corroborate the plaintiff’s claims.
- Photographic or Video Evidence to visually represent the accident scene or the injuries.
- Expert Testimonies such as accident reconstructionists or medical professionals who can speak to the specifics of the case.
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim in Washington State, meeting the burden of proof will play a vital role in the success of your case. If you do not meet the burden of proof, you will lose your case. This makes it all the more important to work with an experienced and proven lawyer. Attorney Fuller welcomes the opportunity to meet with you, listen to your story, and help you understand your rights.
What Is a Preponderance of Evidence?
Preponderance of evidence is the standard by which most personal injury cases are evaluated. Unlike criminal cases, where the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” personal injury claims employ this comparatively lower standard of evidence. In essence, to meet this standard, the plaintiff must demonstrate that it is more probable than not—over 50% likely—that the defendant’s actions or negligence led to the injuries sustained.
It is important to remember that, in personal injury claims, the defendant does not have to prove anything. However, when fault may lie between the parties, both sides will face the burden of proof under Washington State’s comparative fault system (see RCW 4.22.005).
The comparative fault system in Washington makes the concept of a “preponderance of evidence” particularly important. Under this system, the court will determine the percentage of fault attributable to each party. If a plaintiff is found partially at fault, their damages will be reduced by whatever percentage they are found liable.
What Is “Clear and Convincing” Evidence?
In special cases, a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence may be required. This is a higher threshold than a preponderance of evidence, though still lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Clear and convincing evidence presents facts that are highly and substantially more likely to be true than untrue.
Attorney Fuller understands the complexities of gathering and presenting clear and convincing evidence. She takes the time necessary to investigate accidents, establish cause and liability, and build cases that seek the full compensation our clients deserve.
How to Determine What My Case May Be Worth
In Washington, victims of serious injury may seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages through a personal injury claim. These can include:
- Medical Expenses
- Current and Future Lost Wages
- Adaptive/Assistive Technologies
- Emotional Distress
- Physical Pain
- And More
A majority of personal injury claims settle during negotiations. However, they will not settle unless the insurance company is convinced by the evidence that the claimant’s attorney has presented that the claimant has met their burden of proof. Attorney Fuller takes special care to gather proof for all claims, helping to ensure the most positive outcome, even if a settlement is likely.
The Importance of Working With a Specialist in Accident and Injury Law
Every accident is unique, and so are its consequences—financially, emotionally, and physically. When you choose Fuller & Fuller, you get the advantage of decades of experience, personalized service, and knowledgeable legal advice from Marya Fuller, a specialist in accident and injury law. This means you can expect:
- Honest, Straightforward Answers. We make complex legal jargon understandable.
- Thorough Preparation of Your Claim. We gather all the evidence needed, from eyewitness accounts to expert testimonies.
- Comprehensive Assessment of Your Damages: We consider both current and future damages to ensure fair compensation.
- Experienced Legal Representation: Our vast experience ensures that all procedural requirements are met, avoiding common pitfalls.
- Exceptional Negotiation Skills: We strive for the best possible outcome, whether through a negotiated settlement or a trial.
Fuller & Fuller has a decades-long history of helping individuals and families in Olympia, Tacoma, and surrounding areas of the state get justice. We are here to assess your damages, talk you through your options, and guide you toward the most effective method of seeking the compensation you deserve. Let our family help your family.
Contact Us for a FREE Case Review
To schedule a complimentary case review in Tacoma or Olympia, please contact Fuller & Fuller today. During this meeting, our experienced lawyer can discuss the burden of proof in Washington personal injury claims to help you understand the process, what may be required of you, and how to best proceed.