In a personal injury lawsuit, each party is trying to convince the judge or jury to believe something. It is the plaintiff’s job in a personal injury suit to show that the party being sued is responsible for causing the injuries. In all legal cases, whether civil or criminal, there are certain evidence-based thresholds that must be met before a defendant can be found guilty or liable. The “burden of proof” refers to the degree to which the judge or jury must be convinced before believing something.
The plaintiff in a civil case (like a personal injury lawsuit) has a much lower burden of proof than in a criminal case. The plaintiff must convince the jury that it is “more likely than not” (or “by a preponderance of the evidence) that the facts are what he or she says they are. This essentially means that the jury thinks the chances of the plaintiff’s version of the facts being true are at least 51%, while the chance that they are false is no more than 49%.
On the other hand, the defendant is not required to prove his or her version of events is true. When the plaintiff is trying to prove the elements of the case, the defendant does not need to convince the jury of an alternative version of the facts. Rather, all that is necessary for the plaintiff’s case to fail is that the jury believes the chances are 50% or better that the plaintiff’s version is inaccurate or even false.
The defendant can present evidence of facts that contradict the plaintiff’s version of events, but the jury does not need to be convinced that the defendant’s version of the facts is the most accurate. The defendant’s alternative facts are instead meant to cast enough doubt on the conflicting version that the jury no longer believes the plaintiff’s account is “more likely than not” true.
GGRM proudly serves the citizens of Las Vegas in their personal injury and workers compensation legal needs. Visit our contact page to learn more and reach out to one of our attorneys.