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Burden of Proof

Posted on April 23rd, 2009 No Comments

Most people in America have heard of the concept of being “innocent until proven guilty”. Thus, the onus is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant is guilty rather than the onus being on the defendant to show that he or she is innocent. This is referred to as the “benefit of assumption” or “presumption of innocence”, whereas the plaintiff has the “burden of proof”.

The accuser, thus, is responsible for proving that their position is the correct one and that, in criminal cases, the accused deserves punishment, or in civil cases, that the accuser deserves the compensation they claim. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is extremely high; a defendant must be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The reason behind this is that the consequences of a guilty criminal verdict are typically much more severe than those in a civil case.

Accordingly, the burden of proof in a civil case is much lower; typically, a plaintiff will not have the resources necessary to prove that the accused is guilty “beyond a shadow of a doubt”, and to demand this would be to effectively deny the plaintiff’s attempt at justice. In most civil cases, the plaintiff need only prove that they are more likely to be right than the defendant: the burden of proof (a "preponderance of evidence") in these cases is comparatively low.

If you have suffered injury because of someone else’s negligence, contact Cincinnati personal injury lawyer Shawn M. Stepleton at 513-321-7733, and we can aid you in proving your case.

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Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
CincinnatiOH 45213
(513) 321-7733
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Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45213
(513) 321-7733

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