Understanding Workers’ Compensation Cases: The Legal Standard of Proof
When an employee gets injured at work or becomes sick due to work conditions, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, receiving these benefits requires meeting a specific legal standard of proof. In this blog, we’ll explore what the legal standard to prove a workers’ compensation case entails, helping you understand the key aspects in simpler terms.
What is the Legal Standard of Proof?
The legal standard of proof is like a rule that helps determine if someone’s claim meets the requirements of the law. In a workers’ compensation case, the injured employee needs to provide evidence that proves it is more likely that not their injury or illness is work-related. It’s not enough to just say an injury or condition was caused by work, they must prove it to the standard of the law in order to receive the workers compensation benefits they are entitled to.
Types of Legal Standards:
In workers’ compensation cases, the legal standard the court uses is known as “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard requires the employee to show that their injury or illness is more likely to have happened because of work, rather than some other reason. It doesn’t have to be 100% certain, but the evidence should show that it is more probable than not – over a 50% chance.
To meet the preponderance of the evidence standard, the injured employee and their attorney may need to collect various types of evidence, such as:
- Medical Records: Medical reports and records from doctors that explain the injury or illness and connect it to work activities.
- Witness Statements: Statements from co-workers, supervisors, or others who saw the incident or can verify the work-related conditions.
- Work History: Information about the employee’s job duties and how the injury relates to their work tasks.
- Expert Opinions: Sometimes, experts in specific fields may be needed to provide opinions on the work-relatedness of the injury or illness.
One essential element in workers’ compensation cases is “causation.” This means that the injury or illness was caused OR INFLUENCED by work-related activities and not by something unrelated to work. The evidence presented should clearly establish this connection.
The Burden of Proof:
In workers’ compensation cases, the burden of proof lies with the injured employee. It means they have the responsibility to gather and present the evidence needed to show that their injury or illness is work-related.
Proving a workers’ compensation case involves meeting the legal standard of “preponderance of the evidence.” This requires providing convincing proof that the injury or illness is more likely to have happened because of work activities. To achieve this, gathering and presenting relevant evidence, like medical records and witness statements, is essential. By understanding the legal standard and working with a qualified attorney, injured employees can increase their chances of receiving the benefits they rightfully deserve.
If you need help with a work injury claim in Orange County, choosing a skilled attorney like Thomas F. Martin is crucial to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve. Call 714-547-5025 or contact us online to schedule a free and private consultation.