What Is the Definition of Prima Facie?

Understanding the law to the finest details can be complex, even for the most skilled professionals. That’s partly due to the prevalent use of Latin words in federal and state laws. Many people dismiss it as jargon that is hard to understand and interpret. Still, with the help of a skilled negligence cases lawyer in San Antonio, anyone can understand the complex terms.

Prima facie means “on the face of it” or “based on the first impression.” It translates from Latin to explain whether or not a case is ready for trial at first sight, depending on the amount of evidence available. The rule requires that the prosecutor or plaintiff presents prima facie evidence that sufficiently satisfies the burden of proof for each charge against the accused.

How Does the Prima Facie Rule Work?

In litigation, a plaintiff files a lawsuit claiming that the defendant acted in a manner that caused injuries. For example, if you were severely injured in an accident because of another person’s negligent actions, you may have a right to pursue compensation for the damages you sustained.

However, before you can collect money for the hurt and damages, you must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently. In this case, the claim may be dismissed if the prima facie evidence is insufficient or unsatisfactory. Another reason for rejecting the claim is if the defendant presents contradictory evidence.

The plaintiff has prima facie if they can present enough evidence that supports a verdict in their favor. However, that doesn’t mean they will automatically win the case. As a defendant in a criminal case, contact an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney to help you present contradictory evidence in your favor to have the charges dismissed.

What Are Some Examples of Prima Facie?

When the term prima facie is applied to lawsuits, the cases can be considered “open and shut” cases. That’s because so much obvious evidence exists in the court. Some several important examples of prima facie cases include the following:

  • Premises liability cases
  • Drunk driving personal injury cases
  • Product liability cases
  • Oil rig accident cases

How Can I Prove Prima Facie in a Lawsuit?

Prima facie applies in tort and criminal cases.

Prima Facie in Tort Law

Prima facie application in tort law cases aims to provide relief to plaintiffs for the harm caused to them by the defendants who acted with malicious intent in a way not technically or specifically unlawful. To prove the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant meets all the components of a prima facie tort case.

What is Prima Facie Negligence?

Negligence is legally recognized as the failure to behave with the level of care that a responsible person would exhibit under similar circumstances. Negligent behavior usually consists of actions but may also comprise omissions when there is a duty to act.

In trying to figure out if the defendant’s behavior constitutes negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove four crucial elements:

  • The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty or civil obligation not to cause harm, whether a special duty of care as in the case of manufacturers or general duty of care as in the case of drivers and property owners
  • The defendant breached that duty by causing harm to the plaintiff through malicious intention and no other justification
  • The plaintiff suffered actual damages such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, head and neck injuries, soft tissue injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, or even wrongful death
  • The damages were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty

An experienced personal injury attorney in San Antonio can fight aggressively to show that your actions had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s injuries. If the plaintiff can prove any of these elements, the court will likely rule that the trot did not happen.

Prima Facie in Criminal Law

The prima facie concept is similar in criminal law in that the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. Without evidence, the court can acquit the defendant from the charges. When facing criminal charges, it’s always advisable to face the prosecutor with an experienced San Antonio negligence cases attorney by your side.

An attorney who has practiced long enough can provide evidence to dispute every element of the crime established by the prosecutor. The attorney’s role is often to cast doubt upon the evidence presented against you to have the charges dropped.

What Damages Can I Collect from a Prima Facie Case?

As a victim in a prima facie case, you can collect several damages from the defendant, such as:

  • Medical expenses for the costs of treatment you paid out of pocket due to the accident
  • Lost income for the time you took off work to recover from the injuries
  • Property damage if your personal assets like your vehicle got damaged in the accident
  • Rehabilitation costs for physical therapy and medical devices you had to buy to help you recuperate
  • Funeral expenses if you lost a loved one as a result of the accident
  • Pain and suffering caused by the accident
  • Loss of consortium and enjoyment of life

Determining damages in a prima facie negligence case takes into consideration factors like:

  • The severity of the injuries
  • The nature of the accident
  • Cause of the injury
  • Foreseeability or ability to determine the consequences of a defendant’s actions

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Helping You Fight a Prima Facie Case

The burden of proof in a lawsuit lies with the plaintiff. In most cases, they will hire an attorney to help them prove their case in a prima facie negligence claim. Similarly, you should have a skilled San Antonio personal injury lawyer to represent you and help you present contrary evidence to make the court dismiss the charges.

We have been providing legal representation for clients with criminal cases for many years. Our founding attorney previously worked as a prosecutor and understands the strategies the prosecution uses during the trial to get defendants harsh penalties. We can help you navigate the complexities of a prima facie case to have the charges dropped. Call us today for professional legal advice.