Personal Injury Lawsuits: Burden of Proof

Las Vegas personal injury lawsuits place the burden of proof on the victim to establish that his or her version of the events leading up to the injury are true. In short, the burden of proof is what a party must prove to win a case in a Nevada courtroom. The burden of proof is the standard or bar of how much evidence must be presented in order for a jury to rule in a plaintiff’s favor.

While most people have heard the term “burden of proof,” most of the time, this concept is heard of in the context of a criminal matter. Many may not know that there is a different burden of proof specific to civil cases. If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Las Vegas accident, it is critical to understand what is required under the applicable burden of proof in order to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit. Below is a basic explanation of the burden of proof in Nevada personal injury lawsuits.

Preponderance of the Evidence

All personal injury cases utilize the burden of proof standard of a preponderance of the evidence. Simply put, a preponderance of the evidence means the evidence presented shows that something is more likely than not true - a 51% or more likelihood.

This burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff in Nevada personal injury lawsuits. This means that in order to win the case, the plaintiff must present evidence that establishes his or her version of events is more likely than not the correct one. The defendant, on the other hand, need not meet any burden of proof. The defendant can simply let the plaintiff present his or her case. If the plaintiff fails to offer enough evidence to meet a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant wins. Moreover, if a jury thinks that both versions of the events - that is the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s - are equally as likely, the plaintiff still loses the case.

Affirmative Defenses

Once a plaintiff presents evidence in support of his or her case, however, the defense can offer its evidence. One way to do so is to try to convince the jury that the plaintiff has failed to meet the burden of proof. The defendant can also present an affirmative defense, which is a defense that requires evidence. If a defendant decides to present affirmative defenses, he or she must meet the burden of proof that the defense is true. If a jury finds the defendant’s affirmative defense is proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant wins the case.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

The Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau can help you understand how the burden of proof applies to your case, and we can help you build your case correctly to meet this burden. Our lawyers are prepared to respond to any issues or affirmative defenses that may be raised by the other side. We have represented the injured across the state of Nevada for years and can help you, too.

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