What Is the Burden of Proof With Your Accident Case?


Most have heard the term burden of proof before. Its importance when it comes to both civil and criminal matters cannot be understated. When it comes to personal injury cases like a car accident, the burden of proof tells the story of the case. To find out more about this issue, read on.

Understanding the Burden of Proof

This term is both a general term for guilt and a measurement of evidence. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is greater because a person's life is involved. To convict a person of a crime, the evidence presented must be convincing beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases are different. In simple terms, it does not take as much proof to decide on civil fault as it does with criminal guilt. With car accident cases, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence.

Understanding Evidence

The way civil cases are decided places a great deal of weight on evidence in the case. If you have been hurt by a careless driver, you need evidence based on two broad categories: fault and damages. Fault is who caused the accident. In most cases, you won't get far if you can be shown to be even a little bit at fault in the accident. As far as damages are concerned, you must show evidence of each and every form of damage. Evidence, therefore, can consist of a wide variety of both physical evidence and more.

Proof of Fault

Not all car accident victims deal with contested fault, but many do. When both sides allege that the other caused the accident, you and your personal injury lawyer should be prepared to examine how the accident occurred. When doing so, evidence such as the accident report becomes incredibly important. This document is often prepared at the scene and the details provided matter. The responding officer may perform some initial interviews with eye-witnesses and make a preliminary summary of what happened. The information contained in the report can also prove helpful to your attorney who will want to follow up with witnesses. In some cases, experts in accident reconstruction may be consulted.

Proof of Damages

Along with fault, you will also need to prove your damages. That means if you expect to be paid a certain sum of money for something crash-related, have some proof of the damage. For example, medical expenses can be proved with billing statements. Since you are entitled to be paid for lost wages, have ready a pay statement or other forms of income proof.

To further understand the burden of proof in car accident cases, speak to a personal injury lawyer.


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Did you know that many personal injury and car accident cases do not even end up being heard in front of a judge or jury? That's because most defendants would rather settle out of court so that they do not have to go through the expense and annoyance of a lengthy court battle. Personal injury attorneys need to be prepared for this. In addition to being ready to defend their clients in court, they need to be skilled negotiators. As you can see, this is a job that requires many diverse skills! Learn more about those skills, and about personal injury attorneys in general, right here on this site.