Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
Imagine the following scenario: You are driving along when all of a sudden another motorist veers into your lane of travel. Unfortunately, you do not have enough time to react and end of colliding with the other car. As police investigate the crash, suspicion arises that perhaps the other driver was under the influence of alcohol. A criminal charge is filed against the other motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol. Ultimately, however, the driver is found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Does this mean that you cannot recover any civil damages against the driver for your injuries? Thankfully, the answer is no – you can still recover damages even if a negligent party was found not guilty of criminal charges.
Criminal Case Burden of Proof – Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
If you are facing the above-described situation, do not fear. You may still have a civil case against the driver and may be able to recover damages. This is because the burden of proof in a criminal case is higher than in a civil case. The term burden of proof speaks to the quantity and quality of evidence the plaintiff must present to a judge or jury in order to win the case. In a criminal case, for instance, the plaintiff (the prosecutor’s office) must present enough evidence to convince the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she is charged with “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system.
Civil Case Burden of Proof – Preponderance of the Evidence
By contrast, in a civil case the burden of proof is on the injured plaintiff to show fault or negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This generally means the plaintiff must show enough evidence to convince a judge or jury that his or her claims are more likely than not true. This is a much lower burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt.
A finding that an act did or did not occur “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean that the act did or did not occur “by a preponderance of the evidence.” For this reason, where there is a civil case and criminal case arising out of the same incident, usually the criminal case gets resolved first. A finding that something did occur beyond a reasonable doubt (such as drinking and driving) is sufficient to show that that same event occurred or did not occur by a preponderance of the evidence. If something did not happen beyond a reasonable doubt, however, the evidence can still show it happened by a preponderance of the evidence.
Bice Law, LLC Can Assist You
A plaintiff that does not meet his or her burden of proof in a civil or criminal case will have his or her case dismissed against the other party. Do not let this happen to you! Contact Bice Law, LLC at 877-BICE-877 today. We are experienced in helping injury victims receive the compensation they deserve and can help gather and present the evidence needed in order to carry your burden of proof and win your case.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.