In a personal injury case, a plaintiff must prove to the judge or jury using a preponderance of evidence. This is more than reciting facts. Instead, the court has a specific burden of proof required by the plaintiff to satisfy the lawsuit and win the case. After the judge or jury has reviewed the evidence presented, they will weigh the evidence against the defense’s and determine if negligence occurred.
If the weight of the evidence is greater against the defendant, the plaintiff has met the burden of a preponderance of evidence. This means that the plaintiff’s case was more convincing than the defendant’s. The judge overseeing the case, however, will determine if the evidence was also in the plaintiff’s favor – and the jury was not swayed purely based on emotions.
Therefore, it is important that a plaintiff meet with a personal injury attorney to gather evidence. He or she needs to prepare the evidence and present it properly to the court – proving that there is a preponderance pointing toward the defendant’s negligent acts.
The Preponderance of Evidence Requirement
The preponderance of evidence does not refer to who has more evidence to present. Sometimes, one side will have less evidence, but there is more compelling information that proves the case. There is also no checklist for meeting the preponderance of evidence standard. After all, evidence can be highly subjective.
It is the court’s opinion whether a plaintiff has presented the case adequately. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff carries the burden of establishing negligence – not the defense. Therefore, the judge may assess two things to determine if the case was adequate:
- Assessing the Scales of Justice – Both sides start equal on the scales of justice. If at the end of the case the weight tips one scale more than the other, the side with the heavier scale is considered the “successful” party.
- Majority Wins – Both sides start at 50 percent. At the end of the case, the judge or jury will determine who has the higher percentage. The person with the higher percentage will win the case.
The Prima Facie Case
The defense starts at an advantage, regardless of how severe your injuries may be. The plaintiff, however, is only required to present a prima facie case. That means that he or she must show enough evidence to establish that there is a valid claim at the start of the trial.
Not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Beyond a reasonable doubt is reserved for criminal trials. In this instance, the jury must be 99 percent convinced that the other side is responsible. In this case, you are only tipping the scales in your favor the most. You don’t have to convince the jury 100 percent or even 99 percent that you were truly injured. You just need to prove more than the defense disproves.
Get Assistance with Your Case – Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you have been seriously injured in an accident, gathering evidence for the preponderance of evidence requirement is your first step. You have injuries, and you need to recover. That is when a personal injury advocate comes into play. An advocate, like The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., can assist you with your claim. Schedule a free consultation now to discuss your options and see if your case may qualify for compensation. Call 912-200-5292 or request more information online to get started.