What Does Burden of Proof Mean?


In legal proceedings, it is common to hear terms such as “burden of proof” and “standard of proof.” But what do they mean? Get answers and see why proving your case may be easier with the help of an attorney.

What Is the Difference Between the Burden of Proof and the Standard of Proof?

The burden of proof is a party’s responsibility to present enough evidence to prove (or dispute) a particular claim. It also defines which party is expected to fulfill this role, which could be the defendant or the plaintiff, depending on whether the case is civil or criminal.

The standard of proof is the amount of evidence required to prove or disprove a claim. It determines how well the defendant or plaintiff needs to prove their case to convince a jury and reach a specific result.

Who Has the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury cases are civil claims. In civil cases, the plaintiff (the party affected by someone else’s actions) brings a claim against a defendant (the party whose actions resulted in damages to the plaintiff).

The burden of proof in civil cases falls on the plaintiff. That means a jury may not automatically assign fault to a defendant unless the plaintiff can prove their case. In personal injury cases, that may entail producing evidence such as medical records, police reports, or pictures from the accident scene.

What Is the Standard of Proof in a Criminal vs. A Civil Case?

In a criminal case, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution – that is why a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution (the state) to prove that the defendant is guilty of committing a crime.

While civil cases only need to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, criminal cases have a much higher standard of proof. For a defendant to be convicted, the prosecution must prove them guilty either by clear and convincing evidence or, in most cases, beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Can an Attorney Do to Help Me Prove My Case?

If you are a personal injury victim, it is up to you to prove your case. Fortunately, an attorney can assist you with gathering and presenting the required evidence to document your damages and hold the at-fault party responsible. Contact the legal team at Mann Wyatt Tanksley Injury Attorneys at 1 (877) 388-8555 for a free consultation to discuss your case.