The Standard of The “Preponderance of The Evidence” Explained

Throughout the process of most civil trials, the burden of the preponderance of the evidence lies upon the plaintiff and their lawyer. What this means is that, it is upon the plaintiff and their lawyer to convince the jury to rule in their favor through the use of evidence. This evidence needs to be strong enough to proof with a likelihood of fifty percent or more, that the defendant is guilty of causing harm to the plaintiff through negligence.

However, throughout the trial, the defendant is also entitled to ask for a direct verdict by the judge. That is, if the defendant thinks the plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence to prove them guilty in front of a reasonable jury. At this point, it should be noted that judges very rarely grant this request, since the vast majority of judges are in favor of letting the jury make up their minds themselves.

There is also another tiny margin of civil cases in which another standard is put in place. The so called “clear and convincing evidence” standard. When evidence is held by this standard, the plaintiff will need to establish a substantial likelihood in the jury’s eyes that the defendant is guilty of negligence which caused injury to the plaintiff. It should be noted that both of these standards are still far lower than those to which evidence in criminal cases is held. In criminal cases, evidence needs to be strong enough to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Understanding Burden Shifting

Should the evidence presented by the plaintiff be strong enough to convince the jury of the preponderance of the likelihood that the defendant acted recklessly and thus caused harm to the plaintiff, then the burden of proof will shift to the side of the defendant. Essentially, this means the defendant will now need to provide counter evidence in order to convince the jury that they, in fact, did not act recklessly or negligently with the support of evidence stronger than that of the plaintiff.

As a result, the jury will then be capable of weighing the presented evidence against each other to see if the required preponderance of the evidence standard was achieved.The presented evidence can be gathered from a multitude of sources, such as:

• testimony (both live and pre-recorded)
• medical records
• photography
• video

However, it is advised that the plaintiff or the accident victim always work with a personal injury lawyer in Leamington to ensure that their rights are protected. Trying to self-represent might lead to accepting a low amount as compensation or your claim being denied in court.