By: Matthew Tievsky
In Maryland, when a plaintiff sues a defendant for causing an
auto accident, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof at trial. This means that the
plaintiff bears the initial burden of providing evidence at trial that
the collision was the defendant's fault, and the plaintiff must convince
the jury of this.
In a criminal case, the government needs to prove the defendant's guilt
"beyond a reasonable doubt." However, in an auto accident case,
the plaintiff only needs to show the defendant's fault "by a
preponderance of the evidence." This means that the plaintiff must
show that it is
more likely than not that the defendant was at fault. In a single word, the plaintiff must show
that the collision was "probably" the defendant's fault.
This is a much lower burden to meet than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
For example, if the defendant runs a red light and hits your car, but
you ran the red light, then having a single independent witness to support
you will likely win the case for you. Furthermore, even if the case is
just your word against the defendant's, if your version of events
makes more sense or you otherwise are more believable to the jury, then
under the laws of Maryland the jury should rule in your favor. (Of course,
having a supporting witness is better!)
If you have questions about whether you'll be able to successfully
prove your auto accident case in court, you should contact the personal
injury attorneys at
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.