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.