What The H#%& Is the Burden of Proof ?

Posted By Michael R. Varble || 23-Jan-2014

In today's blog post, I discuss the burden of proof and what this means to you as an injured person in a personal injury case. People often hear the phrase "Burden of Proof" and have some idea about what it means, but what does it mean to you as a person that has been injured and files a claim against someone or a business as a result ?

Well, the Plaintiff has the burden of proof. In a civil case, the stand is a preponderance of the evidence. If you sit on a jury during a civil trial, a jury will also provide you with instructions about the burden of proof too. The trial Court will inform the jury that the burden of proof rest with the Plaintiff. This means that it must be established by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence that the claim plaintiff makes is true. The credible evidence means the testimony or exhibits that the jury finds to be worthy of belief. A preponderance of the evidence means the greater part of such evidence. this does not mean the greater number of witnesses or the greater length of time taken by either side. The phrase refers to the quality of the evidence, that is, its convincing quality, the weight and effect that it has on the jury's mind. The law requires that the in order for the Plaintiff to prevail on a claim, the evidence that supports his or her claim must appeal to the jury as more nearly representing what took place than the evidence opposed to the Plaintiff's claim. If the evidence does not, or the evidence is so evenly balanced that the jury is unable to say that there is a preponderance on either side, the jury must decide the question in favor of the Defendant. It is only if the evidence favoring the plaintiff's claim outweighs the evidence opposed to it that a jury can find in favor of the Plaintiff.

So what does all of this mean to you as a client and a Plaintiff in personal injury case ? It means that you need to have a reasonable explanation for what happened and you should be completely honest about what happened because, despite what you may think, the public is not very foolish and people who serve on juries generally try to do the right thing. It also means that you need to have as much information about your case as possible at your disposal.

How do you acquire as much information about you case as possible ? First, you make sure that you do a little leg work on your case yourself. Collect all the important information about your case before you consult us. If you are involved in an automobile accident, get a copy of your accident report. If you have already begun medical treatment, make sure you have contact information for your doctors or hospitals when you come into the office for an initial consultation with me or any other attorneys in our office. If you are in a position to take pictures at the scene of the accident, please do so. Even if you go back to the scene a few days later and take pictures, it will be helpful for your case. Make sure you know anything that you can know about your case and collect phone numbers and addresses for us so we can help you.

So in closing, I hope you don't need to be called a plaintiff but I know in the end that accidents happen and people get injured. Insurance companies would not exist if everyone were careful and did not get hurt. So if you or someone you love is injured in an accident, pick up the phone and call us at 1.888.900.6204 to schedule a free consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available if you need. We also have over 150 combined years of litigation experience and when you retain us, we will fight for you.

Categories: Personal Injury

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