How Does Proof Work In A Injury Lawsuit?

One thing that both civil and criminal court cases share in common is the need for proof that is presented to a jury. Both types of court cases have lawyers presenting an argument, augmenting that argument with evidence and proof, and then leaving a jury to arrive at a conclusion. The jury must then look at the proof presented, and decide whether someone is guilty, in the case of a criminal case, or liable for damages in a civil lawsuit.

Regardless of the actual outcome, that process is identical; proof is critical. However, there is a big difference between the “levels of proof” that are required for a jury to reach a verdict in a criminal case, versus a civil law-suit. Lawsuits have a lower threshold and are easier!

Beyond Reasonable Doubt


In criminal court cases, the accused, if there is a guilty verdict, could face community service, heavy fines, imprisonment, and, in the most extreme cases, execution. As a result, Florida courts require that proof presented to the jury must meet the criteria of being “beyond all reasonable doubt.”

This means that it is up to a prosecuting attorney to present enough evidence, and make arguments compelling enough that the jury feels confident there is little to no chance a defendant is not guilty. If video footage, for example, shows a murderer committing the act, fingerprints are present, DNA is secured from the scene, eye-witness accounts corroborate surveillance footage, and the defendant shot at police and was subdued with the weapons, still possession, there less than 1% chance, with all that evidence that the defendant is not guilty.

On the other hand, if no one saw the defendant do it, there is no solid forensic evidence, and the only argument the prosecution can present is, “We have a feeling this person might have done it,” there is plenty of reason to doubt that a guilty verdict is a certainty. Criminal verdicts must come from a place where as much doubt as possible is eliminated from the equation.

Preponderance Of The Evidence


Civil cases are different. When it comes to family cases such divorce, child support, and even civil cases like negligence or wrongful death cases, the standard used is known as preponderance of the evidence. Simply put, rather than striving to eliminate as much doubt as possible, a civil case merely needs to present enough proof to make a particular outcome more likely, or reasonable, than not. In other words, where a best case scenario for a murder case would be 95%+ certainty that a crime was committed by an individual, a negligence case, for example, might get by on 60% or even just 55% likelihood based on the evidence that is presented.

This means that it is much easier, comparatively speaking, to arrive at a legal position where the evidence is sufficient grounds to assign fault, liability, and thus demand compensation. It is one of the reasons, for example, that while OJ Simpson was not found guilty, beyond all reasonable doubt, of murder in his famous 1990s murder trial, he was held liable on preponderance of the evidence for wrongful death in a civil lawsuit.

This does not necessarily mean that lawsuit attorneys don’t have to work as hard! On the contrary, good evidence is still good evidence, and it’s always better to approach a case with 90% certainty of good evidence that just over 50%. But it does mean that if you decide to talk an attorney about car accident or personal injury lawsuit, you don’t have to worry about the burden of proof being as demanding as it would be for resolving a criminal court case.


 

Client Testimonials

Attorney David Goldman has been exceptional in the process of helping me through the case. He has always been easy to reach, whether by phone or email, and has thorough knowledge and explains clearly in depth so you feel safe and confident in your lawyer

I used Michael Babboni and his paralegal, Nicole Moore for a legal matter. They went above and beyond my expectations. During the entire process there was constant communication with both Michael and Nicole. They were extremely organized and on top of my case, which I am very grateful for. Michael truly had my best interests at heart and he was very genuine. I plan on referring Michael to all family and friends and will continue to use him in the future.

I dealt most with Mr. Fernandez. I didn’t know a lot about this process. He took the time to speak with me individually, in person, to explain everything. It was very helpful to actually know and understand the process and what to expect. He closed my case quickly, which was nice that it was not prolonged! I appreciated his hard work and getting me what I felt I deserved after my car accident. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs an honest and reliable lawyer to assist you with your case!

I hired Mr. Walsh after an automobile accident this past March. He and his entire staff were extremely professional. They kept me informed every step of the way and settled my case in a timely manner. Thank you so much for your help.

Get Your Free Case Review

Fill out my online form.

Law Offices Near You

Sarasota Office

Sarasota

941-954-1234

3550 S Tamiami Trail, 3rd Floor Sarasota Florida 34239

Bradenton Office

Bradenton

941-752-7000

5291 Office Park Blvd. Bradenton Florida 34203

St. Petersburg Office

St. Petersburg

727-381-9200

6446 Central Avenue St. Petersburg Florida 33707

Venice Office

Venice

941-496-9555

3986 S. Tamiami Trail Venice Florida 34293

Englewood Office

Englewood

941-474-4800

2960 S. McCall Rd Englewood Florida 34224

Port Charlotte Office

Port Charlotte

941-613-1141

3986 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte Florida 33952

Arcadia Office

Arcadia

863-494-0122

10 South DeSoto Avenue Arcadia Florida 34266

Fort Myers Office

Fort Myers

239-332-0770

8359 Beacon Blvd Fort Myers Florida 33907

Lakeland Office

Lakeland

863-683-5600

5137 S. Lakeland Dr. Lakeland Florida 33813

Get personal attention from a lawyer with decades of experience.


 
×