A civil action is what the law generally refers to is a "Tort Action". A tort is a legal duty owed either by Statute or by custom from one person to another in our society and is a violation of that duty which results in damages.
In most tort actions the burden of proof, that is the amount of evidence necessary for a side to be successful, is generally a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is best described as the lady of justice with her scales of justice with both sides being even. All evidence favorable to the one side placed on one plate, all evidence favorable to the other side placed on the other scale. If the scale tips ever so slightly in favor of the moving party, the moving party has been successful. If however the scale remains the same or tips ever so slightly to the opposing party then the moving party does not meet its burden and will be unsuccessful.
Statue of Limitation
Statute of Limitation is that period of time which the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has prescribed within which a lawsuit must be brought or the right to bring the lawsuit will be lost is generally two years in a tort action. This may be different in a mal-practice action where the "discovery rule" may apply.
To recover in a tort action the following elements must be met consistent with the burden of proof as set forth above. The moving party must show:
1) a violation of the legal duty imposed by law or custom upon the non moving party;
2) the moving party must show the violation was a substantial factor in bringing about the injury to the moving party. [A substantial factor is the bridge between negligence and actual damage necessary to be successful.];
3) there are actual damages received as a result of the violation of the duty. Those damages may include but are not limited to payment of medicals bills; Past and Future loss of earning or the ability to earn; Past and Future pain and suffering.
If the fact finder, either a jury or judge, were to find that all three elements are met and has determined as a result of the burden of proof the moving party is successful, the moving party then will be successful in the tort action. If the moving party is successful in two out of three of the elements, the moving party will not be successful in the tort action.