Personal injury and the preponderance of the evidence standard

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Personal Injury

When North Dakota residents are injured due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, they likely know that they may have the option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to attempt to recover financial compensation. However, people who find themselves in this position also have a lot of questions, like, “Is it worth it?” and “Can I prove it”?

If your personal injury case reaches the trial phase, your primary concern will likely be one legal phrase: “the preponderance of the evidence.” That is the standard – the bar – that plaintiffs must meet or overcome in order to potentially prevail in a personal injury lawsuit. It is similar to the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal case. Fortunately for potential personal injury plaintiffs, the preponderance of the evidence standard is a lower bar to meet.

What the standard means

While our readers may know that the criminal case standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that the fact-finders must be convinced or feel that there is no other reasonable explanation for the facts at hand, “preponderance of the evidence” in civil cases is commonly explained as feeling that the facts are “more likely true than not.” Or, in other terms, that the judge or jury is in at least 51% agreement with the plaintiff’s presentation of the facts in the case.

So, while the standard to meet in a personal injury case might be lower than in a criminal case, the fact remains the pursuing a civil lawsuit can, indeed, be difficult. If you have been injured, you may have a claim – but be sure to have the facts of your case carefully evaluated to see if, when it is necessary, you can meet the preponderance of the evidence standard.