If you have been injured in an accident, you may wonder what you need to do to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Put simply, you must prove your case to win damages. Proving your case can mean different things depending on the type of case and the burden of proof.
A set of facts may be enough to prove a civil case but may not be enough to prove a criminal case because of the different burdens of proof. If you have questions about the burden of proof in your case, then it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.
What is a Burden of Proof?
The burden of proof is how much evidence you must proffer in your case to legally establish your claim. Nobody is required to prove their case 100% to win. The amount of proof a plaintiff is required to offer varies depending on the case at hand.
The Different Burdens of Proof
When a case is filed against someone, the burden of proof can vary depending on the type of claim that is being made. There are three main burdens of proof that you need to know: preponderance of evidence, clear and convincing evidence, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Preponderance of Evidence
If you file a civil lawsuit or claim against someone (such as a personal injury case), then your burden of proof is most likely a “preponderance of the evidence.” This burden of proof requires you to prove that it is more likely than not that your version of events is true. Attorneys sometimes explain this as proving your case by 51%. If you do this, you have met the preponderance of evidence standard and should win your case.
Clear and Convincing Evidence
This burden of proof is higher than a preponderance of evidence but lower than beyond a reasonable doubt standard. This type of burden of proof can be found in administrative hearings, as well as in certain civil and criminal procedure. For example, a plaintiff typically has to prove a defendant should be assessed punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence to receive such damages.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
This burden of proof is the highest level of proof that can be required in any case in the United States. It is the typical standard used in criminal cases.
If you have filed a lawsuit against someone, then it is likely that you will need to prove a preponderance of evidence to be successful. If you have questions about what level of proof is required in your case, then make sure to speak to an experienced attorney who can help you.
The Burden of Proof as a Plaintiff
If you file a lawsuit against someone, then you are considered the plaintiff in the case. The person that you filed the lawsuit against would be considered the defendant. A jury is tasked with listening to the plaintiff’s case and deciding if they believe the plaintiff’s version of the story.
As a plaintiff, you have the burden of proof to convince the jury of your version of events to hold the defendant responsible for your injuries. In a personal injury case, you must prove your claim by a preponderance of the evidence. This will require presenting evidence in the form of witnesses, documents, video, or other evidence to prove your case to a jury by a preponderance of the evidence.
The Burden of Proof as a Defendant
A defendant in a personal injury lawsuit typically doesn’t have a burden of proof. A defendant in a case will have the opportunity to question any witnesses that testify for the plaintiff. A defendant can also put on their own case by calling witnesses to try to refute the plaintiff’s case. But they don’t have to do either of these things.
A defendant’s main task is to provide enough doubt about the plaintiff’s case to get a jury to find the plaintiff did not meet their required burden of proof. If you have questions about how the burden of proof will apply to your case, then call us at William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers so we can help!
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If you have been injured in an accident, then it is important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away. At William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers, we are proud to offer free consultations to all prospective clients who have questions.