The burden of proof refers to how much you need to convince the court, which means a judge or jury, to win your case. For injury cases, you need to prove that the defendant more likely than not caused and should compensate your damages. In mathematical terms, you must prove that your version of events is at least 51% likely.
Below are some ways to strengthen your proof.
Present Multiple Forms of Evidence
Your case depends more on your evidence than your arguments. Gather as much evidence as possible; don't rely on one piece of evidence, even if it looks irrefutable. Remember that the defendant is likely to present alternative explanations for your evidence. The court is more likely to believe an alternative explanation for one form of evidence than for multiple forms of evidence.
Say you have a case against a driver who rear-ended you while drunk. If the only evidence you have is a failed field sobriety test, the defendant might explain that away with a physical illness. However, you have a strong case if you have:
- Testimony from a witness who saw the defendant drinking just before getting into the case
- Photographs of open beer cans beside the driver's seat
- Results of chemical tests that show elevated blood alcohol levels
In short, the more evidence you have, the stronger your case is.
Involve an Expert Witness
All forms of evidence help, but expert testimony carries significant weight with many people. For example, many people will believe a medical doctor's testimony about your injuries even if they would doubt similar testimony from you. The rationale is that the expert witness is a professional in their field and has no reason to lie.
Establish High Credibility
Your level of credibility determines how likely people are to believe your claims. Credibility can help you both in and outside the courtroom. For example, an insurance adjuster who sees you as a credible plaintiff is more likely to make a high offer than one who doesn't see your credibility. Adjusters don't want credible plaintiffs in court since courts are sympathetic to such people.
Here are some tips to improve your credibility:
- Remain consistent with your statements throughout the case
- Be honest with every party, from doctors to insurance adjusters
- Ensure your demeanor and appearance is clean, presentable, and polite
Your lawyer can help you improve your credibility. Listen to the lawyer's advice about courtroom grooming and etiquette.
Call an auto accident attorney for more information.