Authored by Joseph Cammarata
In a civil case, and in an auto accident case in particular, it is the
plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) who has the burden of proof.
More specifically, the plaintiff must show by a "preponderance of
the evidence" that the defendant is at fault - in other words, the
plaintiff must show that it is probably true that the defendant negligently
caused the car accident.
This can be a problematic challenge when the case is "he-said/she-said"
(or change the pronouns depending upon who was driving the cars in the
accident). If it is just the plaintiff's word against the defendant's,
the jury may not know whom to believe. If the jury can't decide, then
the plaintiff will lose, because it is the plaintiff's burden to show
that he or she is probably right. This is not such a problem in a rear-ender
case, because the trailing car is generally at fault in such cases. But
it can be a serious problem where the plaintiff claims that the defendant
came into the plaintiff's lane, and the defendant alleges the opposite;
or where each driver is claiming that they had the green light and the
other driver had the red light. This is why, following a car accident,
it is tremendously important to get the contact information of as many
witnesses as possible (even if the police are investigating, because sometimes
the police make mistakes).
If you have any questions about whether you have a potentially successful
claim for a
car accident case, contact a Maryland personal injury attorney at Chaikin, Sherman,
Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.