Experienced auto accident lawyers in Carrollton understand the importance of evidence to your car crash compensation claim. Suppose you don’t have sufficient evidence to prove your case. Then, you may lose your right to damages. Like most civil cases, evidence in car accident claims is the preponderance of the evidence.
However, many people don’t understand this concept, making it one of the crucial reasons hiring a lawyer immediately after a collision is necessary. With an excellent attorney, you wouldn’t have to worry about evidence. This article explains all you need to know about the preponderance of the evidence.
Auto Accident Lawyers in Carrollton Explain Preponderance of the Evidence
In all car accident cases, the plaintiff must provide evidence proving their claim. They must show that:
- The crash occurred,
- The defendant was responsible for the collision, and
- Their injuries flowed from the accident.
The law calls this the burden of proof. So, this burden rests on the person who instituted the action (the plaintiff). However, there’s also a standard of proof. This standard of proof refers to the quality of evidence you must provide as the plaintiff to succeed in the case.
In Carrollton car accident cases, this standard is satisfied by the preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means that parties have to convince the courts that their own story is the most likely version of what happened.
The Imaginary Scale of Justice Analogy
Courts use imaginary scales during car accident lawsuit proceedings. They take both sides’ facts and evidence and place them on the scale. So, the preponderance of the evidence points to which side has the greater weight of evidence.
Notably, the preponderance of the evidence doesn’t mean that you presented more evidence or documents. It simply means that after all the facts both parties present to the court, the court will choose which tips the scales of justice lower.
Essentially, you’re showing the court that your story is “more likely than not” to be true. In addition, to win your case, you must show the courts that there’s more than a 50% chance that you’re the one telling the truth.
Types of Evidence You Can Put on the Imaginary Scale
Only solid evidence tips the scales in your favor, and different types apply to your injury case. Some of them include the following:
- Your (the car accident victim) testimony
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records
- CCTV evidence
- Photographic evidence of the accident scene
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Reports from accident reconstructionists.
The more reliable and believable these pieces of evidence are, the easier it’ll be to satisfy the preponderance of evidence requirement.
Relevant Factors in the Preponderance of Evidence
The judge and jury consider several things when weighing evidence. All these factors determine how much weight is allocated to your proof. So, let’s look at some of them below.
Witness credibility refers to how believable your witnesses are. Such a witness must be capable of inspiring trust in listeners. You don’t need a specific number of witnesses to prove your case; one solid witness can be sufficient in some cases.
Therefore, suppose you present multiple credible witnesses who testify to verifiable facts about the car accident. Then, you can tip the scales of justice in your favor. The best auto accident lawyers in Carrollton will help you convince the court that it’s more likely than not that what your witnesses are saying is the truth.
Presenting an inconsistent case before the court will not meet the requirement for proof on a preponderance of the evidence. So, you must ensure that every piece of evidence corroborates and complements each other. For example, imagine testifying that the at-fault driver hit you while speeding.
Suppose one of your witnesses testifies that the fault driver wasn’t speeding but made a wrong lane change. Of course, this new statement doesn’t absolve the other driver of liability. But it questions how the accident happened and weakens your story.
Therefore, the court must determine which of your conflicting stories it’ll believe. Placing such doubt in the court’s mind will make it harder for the judge to accept your account.
Recoverable Damages After Proving Your Case on a Preponderance of Evidence
You’ve convinced the court that you’re telling the truth about the car accident. Therefore, Georgia’s fault-based car accident laws will apply. Under this law, you can get the following damages:
This class of damages covers the actual economic losses you sustained from the collision. This includes money you lost or spent after the crash. In addition, you can easily account for them using receipts and pay stubs.
The courts or insurance adjuster thus wouldn’t award more money than you lost as special damages. Examples of special damages include:
- Medical bills
- Cost of vehicle repairs
- Alternative transportation bills
- Cost of household servants
- Medical equipment bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages.
General damages are compensation for any emotional losses from car accidents. Unlike special damages, general damages are not quantifiable because it is hard to assign a fixed dollar amount to them.
Therefore, your lawyer will have to prove these general damages before you can recover them. Common examples of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reduced quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium and companionship.
You can also get punitive damages, but only in court. Judges and juries award this class of damages to punish the defendant for their conduct. So, you can get punitive damages when the defendant was so reckless that they didn’t care about the possible effects of their actions on you.
Similarly, this will be the case where the fault party intentionally hurt you. Courts also award punitive damages to deter other parties from acting like the defendant.
Let Our Auto Accident Lawyers in Carrollton Help You Prove Your Case
Have you been in a Carrollton auto accident? Do you think that the other party is responsible for the crash? Then, you can recover compensation from them.
However, proving your case on the preponderance of evidence can be challenging. Therefore, hiring a legal team will be best. At The Weinstein Firm, we’ve spent several years helping car accident victims get compensation.
So, we have learned how to convince the court concerning our clients’ cases. We can employ this expertise and experience for your case. Also, you don’t have to worry about upfront fees as we work on a contingency fee basis. Call us today for a FREE consultation with our Carrollton personal injury lawyers.