What Does Preponderance of Evidence Mean?

preponderance-of-evidence

Have you ever wondered how judges and juries make their final decisions? Every civil and criminal case is won or lost because of each party’s evidence. However, the two types of claims have their standards of proof. For civil cases, including car accident claims, the standard of proof is on the “preponderance of evidence.” Therefore, it’s essential to understand what the law means by this phrase.

If your car accident case gets to court, you’ll need to fulfill this evidentiary burden the law places on you. Laypersons that do not know the law may be unable to offset this burden. That’s why it’s best to hire an Atlanta car accident attorney. A good lawyer can help you meet and exceed the standard of proof the law demands.

Understanding the Burden of Proof

When a person files a car accident claim against another driver, the person must meet the “burden of proof” to succeed. The party that files the claim is the plaintiff, while the other party or parties is the defendant(s). The burden of proof usually rests on the plaintiff because “the person that asserts must prove their assertion.”

The burden of proof refers to the plaintiff’s duty to prove that their allegations are true. They can do this by providing evidence to the court in support of their claim.  The party against whom the claim is brought is presumed to be right until the plaintiff offsets the burden of proof. After this, the responsibility now shifts to the defendant to discountenance the provided proof.

Understanding the Standard of Proof

The person who bears the burden of proof can only offset it by meeting the standard of evidence. The standard of proof for car accident claims is the preponderance of the evidence. To meet this standard of proof on a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must show that their allegations have more than a 50% chance of being true.

You can understand this as the “more likely than not” principle. That is, if the plaintiff can show that their story is more likely to be true than the defendant’s story, then the standard of proof is met.

For instance, imagine that Bush sues Kevin for injuries he sustained in a car accident. Bush must convince the court that it’s more probable than not that Kevin caused the accident that wounded him. Bush can do this by tendering physical proof before the court to prove his assertion.

Essentially, the law places the proof of both parties on an imaginary scale, and the party’s evidence that weighs the most will be the winner. The judge and jury have to answer the following questions:

  • Which evidence weighs more?
  • Which evidence is more probable or credible?

This standard of proof is lower than the requirement of proof “beyond reasonable doubt” in criminal cases. It’s not exactly challenging to establish since you don’t have to eliminate all the doubt on your case. You only have to give the court more reason to believe you over the defendant.

Sources of Evidence for Car Accident Claims

An excellent personal injury lawyer will need various pieces of evidence to win your car crash case and get you compensation. Some of such sources of evidence include:

  • Medical evidence and records
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Physical evidence from the crash site
  • Photographic evidence
  • Video/CCTV footage
  • The police report
  • Black box data
  • Torn and bloodied clothing
  • Vehicle wreckage
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Cell phone records
  • Your testimony

Your car accident attorney may need to conduct some investigations to gather the proof required for your case. After sourcing proof, they’ll then analyze it and decide how best to present it in court. Furthermore, you don’t need all of the evidence types above to win your case. A combination of more than one source of proof can help you succeed.

Atlanta’s Best Car Accident Lawyers Can Win Your Case!

Atlanta car accident claims are also won based on the preponderance of the evidence. It’s always best to retain the services of an Atlanta car accident lawyer if you survive a car accident. The road to getting compensation for your losses is long and can be challenging without an attorney.

After analyzing your case, an experienced car accident attorney would know how best to win the claim on the preponderance of the evidence. Calvin Smith Law Firm has won many car crash claims by offsetting this burden. We’re convinced that we can also meet this standard in your case. Therefore, it would be best to call us today for a free consultation.

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