Burden of Proof Rests with the Victim
When you submit a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for the harms and losses that you have suffered because of a doctor’s carelessness, your lawyer has an obligation to the jury, which is to prove your case. Since you are the injured victim, you have the burden of proof. Burden of proof means you have to show to the jury that you are more likely right than wrong, what the doctor did was incorrect, and he violated the basic standards of medical care.
More Likely Right than Wrong-A Much Lighter Burden
In criminal cases, the prosecutor has to show the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high burden. However, in a civil case involving medical malpractice, you do not have such a high burden, and instead you have only to show to the jury that you are more likely right than wrong.
To show you are more likely right than wrong, you have to tip the scales ever so slightly. If the jury is evenly decided, which means it is fifty-fifty, and they cannot really decide who is right and who is wrong. Then in such a scenario you will ultimately lose.
All you have to do is tip the scales a little bit, which will show the jury that you are more likely correct about what you are claiming, rather than being wrong or not telling the entire truth. The percentage in your favor could even be 50.1%, and still you can win the case. Though your compensation may not be as dramatic as if you won the case in the 85% area or 100% area of course.
Another analogy that demonstrates this concept is a goal in a football game. The tip of the football has to be just a fraction into the end zone. It does not have to be all the way inside the end zone to push a verdict in your favor.
What happens after showing the jury that there was wrongdoing?
Once the jury determines that you have shown that you are more likely right than wrong, that what happened is true, they will then go ahead and consider what are the damages and injuries you actually suffered and award compensation to you. So to illustrated, the phrase, "burden of proof" means, in New York, in a medical malpractice case, that you are obligated to show to the jury that you are more likely right than wrong.
After wrongdoing is determined, then the jury will go on to the next question, which is causation? In causation, the jury will be considering whether the wrongdoing caused you harm. If the answer is yes, then the jury will go ahead and make an award to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
To paint this picture more clearly, the first step in a medical malpractice case in New York is to show to the jury that there was wrongdoing. The jury has to determine that you are more likely right than wrong in what you are claiming happened to you. Once liability is determined, the jury will determine causation and then award you compensation to reflect how much you have suffered and lost and how right you are.