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Proving a Personal Injury Case

Were you injured due to the negligence or fault of another?

The burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit is "more likely true than not true." The injured person or the plaintiff has the burden of proving "more likely true than not true" that the defendant's actions or omissions violated the rules of personal injury law. The plaintiff has the burden of proving "more likely true than not true" that the defendant's actions or omissions caused the plaintiff's injuries or were a cause of the plaintiff's injuries.

The first thing that the injured plaintiff must prove is that the defendant violated the rules of personal injury law or was negligent. In New Mexico, negligence may relate to an act committed by the defendant or the defendant's failure to act.

What constitutes negligence?

  • A negligent act is one that a reasonably sensible person would anticipate as highly risky and one that could cause injury to someone else. A person who practices ordinary care would not commit a negligent act. For example, failing to yield the right of way at a red light or running a stop sign is a negligent act.
  • A negligent failure to act occurs if a reasonably prudent person had a duty to act and exercising ordinary care would have acted to prevent injury to another. For example, a negligent failure to act is failing to remove black ice from a parking lot to prevent customers from slipping and falling on the ice.
  • Ordinary care varies from case to case. As the risk of danger or injury increases, the amount of care required increases as well. For example, ordinary care increases in a school zone because of the increased risk of injuring children who are present in the school zone.

Determining the Cause of Your Injuries

The second thing that the injured plaintiff must prove is that the negligent act or the negligent failure to act caused his or her injuries. An act or omission is a "cause" of injury if the act or omission contributes to bringing about the injury.

The act or omission does not have to be the sole cause of the injury. However, the act or omission must be reasonably connected as a significant link to the injury. In a car wreck, for example, if a driver runs a red light and crashes into the plaintiff's car, and the plaintiff's leg is broken in the wreck, the defendant's act of running the red light is not only negligence but the cause of the plaintiff's broken leg.

Looking for an attorney for your personal injury case in Albuquerque? Let us be your advocate. We can help you prove fault and determine the cause of your injuries!

Contact the Law Office of James H. Wood PC to get started on your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

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