What Does Burden of Proof Mean?
Orange County trial lawyers provide assistance to clients who are involved in civil litigation. Our legal team can help both plaintiffs and defendants to understand how litigation works and to put together the strongest possible case in order to have the best chance of prevailing in a court of law.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP knows how the California legal system works and we understand the ins-and-outs of proving a claim or of making it impossible for plaintiffs to prove their claim if you have been named as a defendant. Our legal team will work to try to help you resolve cases outside of court in appropriate circumstances so you do not have to take a chance on the uncertainty of courtroom litigation. When settling is not the best course of action or when no fair agreement on settlement can be reached, we are prepared to help you put forth your strongest and most strategic legal case in a court of law.
Our Orange County trial lawyers are skilled litigators with decades of collective experience in a wide variety of civil cases, including injury claims, breach of warranty claims, employer/employee disputes, and other business law cases. Give us a call if you want a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side who can help you to understand what it takes to prevail in court and who can assist you throughout the entirety of the litigation process.
What Does Burden of Proof Mean?
Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant involved in a civil case, one of the most important concepts that you need to understand as you prepare your case is the concept of burden of proof.
According to California Evidence Code section 115, burden of proof is defined as “the obligation of a party to establish by evidence a requisite degree of belief concerning a fact in the mind of the trier of fact or the court.” If a party to a civil case does not meet his burden of proof, that party cannot prevail in the case.
There are different standards of proof for different kinds of cases. For example, in a criminal case, the prosecutor has the burden to prove the state’s case against the defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Since a defendant’s life or liberty could be at stake, the highest burden of proof applies in criminal cases. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until the prosecutor meets the state’s burden of proof. If the prosecutor cannot meet the burden of proving the truth of the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant should be acquitted.
In civil cases, a lesser standard is used. A plaintiff is not required to prove the truth of the facts or claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, in most cases, a plaintiff in a civil case has to prove the facts and truth of his assertions by a preponderance of the evidence. Essentially, this means a plaintiff in a civil case has to prove that everything he is saying about the defendant’s wrongful conduct that makes the defendant liable is more likely than not true.
While a plaintiff in a civil case and a prosecutor in a criminal case have the burden of proving the defendants conduct was wrongful or illegal, there are times when the burden of proof can switch to the defendant. For example, if a defendant wants to claim self defense in a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the defendant to convince the court that his actions were justified by self-defense. If the defendant in a breach of contract claim wants to prove that there was an intervening event that made performance of the contract impossible, the defendant has the burden of proving this.
Getting Help from Orange County Trial Lawyers
Orange Country trial lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide personalized assistance to individuals and businesses who are involved in civil litigation. We will work with you to determine what you must prove as a plaintiff or what strategies you should employ as a defendant to try to meet your burden of proof or to try to make it impossible for a plaintiff to meet the burden of proof.
To find out more about how our legal team can help you to devise an appropriate strategy to get the best possible outcome in your civil case, give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online today.