By: Matthew Tievsky
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 is the
person who has to provide evidence first at trial, and the plaintiff must
convince the jury that the defendant was at fault and caused injuries
to the plaintiff.
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, and
the injuries that the plaintiff suffered, “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 and the plaintiff
was injured as a result. In a single word, the plaintiff must show that
the collision was “probably” the defendant’s fault,
and “probably” caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
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
claims that you ran the red light, then having a single independent witness
who supports 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 the jury should rule in your favor.
If you have questions about whether you’ll be able to successfully
prove yourauto accident case in court, you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.