What Is The Burden Of Proof, And How Does It Apply To You?

When an individual decides to file suit against another, the "burden of proof" lies in the one filing suit to prove they have a case.

But knowing precisely what that term, burden of proof, means can be confusing to some.

Of course, if you file a lawsuit against someone else, both parties may end up in court. Yes, they will both go to the stand to present their sides of the story. But if that were all there was to it, every case would end up being deemed a "he said / she said" case.

Carpenter & Czelusta want to ease the process by educating clients and getting justice where needed. In the following article, we intend to break down the law terminology and "legalese" so anyone can understand the concept of the burden of proof. Furthermore, we hope this information helps you decide if you have a case worth fighting for.

Keep reading to learn more about the burden of proof in your case.


The burden of proof is critical to the success of a legal case. And that is a good thing. No one wants there to be a world where you can accuse someone of wrongdoing without any proof. That would result in utter chaos.

To begin understanding, let's get the proper definition out of the way. Here is one such description that is easy to comprehend.

"A duty placed upon a civil or criminal defendant to prove or disprove a disputed fact. " - Legal Dictionary.

Simply stated, you need proof to bring a case to the judge. Clear and convincing evidence must be taken to the judge that must be both proven and must have a high probability of being the truth.

In these cases, there will be two parties that clearly may not agree. That makes the task all the more difficult So, now let's get a clear understanding of the individuals involved and the lingo you may hear from the attorneys that represent both.

These two parties are called the plaintiff or petitioner and the defendant or respondent.


In a civil case, the person who filed the claim in the first place is considered the plaintiff This person is typically named first in the proceedings.


On the other hand, is the defendant. This is the individual being sued and is named second in the documents.

Example 1: When Mary was stopped at a red light, Jane ran into the back of her car. Jane was un her phone and putting on lipstick at the time of impact. In this case Mary sues Jane and is considered the plantiff. She seeks lost wages, car repair costs and compensation for medical bills due to the accidents.

Mary has the burden of proving that Jane was on her phone and doing her makeup and is therefore negligent. And Tane would have the defendant.

Example 2: Mary Summers v. Jane Winters

In this case, it is evident that Mary is the plaintiff because her name is first. Since her name is listed second in the case name, Jane is the defendant.

Simple, right? Well, that is the easy part. Now Mary will need to prove her case and the damages she is seeking compensation for.


Several things go into proving a case, such as evidence in the form of documents, objects, testimonies, and witnesses. All of these can be used to establish a point worth hearing. When it comes to the standards of "burden of proof," there are varying thoughts depending on the type of case and its severity.

Let's break it down into levels, to begin with.


For those cases requiring a minimum of proof, we call them lower-level standards, Simply put, these cases are less in demand for evidence and can be quite urgent in the eyes of the law.

  • Credible Evidence- The least demanding cases fall in this category. These cases may need immediate attention for a short period of time. For instance, when a child is possibly in danger, the judge may assign less product to speed the proceedings along and find the child.
  • Probable Cause- This is when a search warrant is needed. All Americans are afforded the Fourth Amendment, which gives everyone the right to probable cause. In other words, there must be an apparent reason to search the premises. However, there are more urgent cases when an arrest can be made without an issued search warrant.


Where there is one, there is the other. So, if there are cases that require lower levels of proof, there must be those needing a high level of credible evidence. Now, it is essential to note that the proof does not only refer to the amount of evidence and witness testimony but the quality of the evidence being presented.

Here are some examples of those types,

  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt- Criminal trials require proof beyond doubt to deem a person guilty.
  • Clear and Convincing Evidence- This is used in both civil and critical proceedings. Examples of these cases may Include parental rights cases, civil liberties tells, probate wills, conservatorships, and restraining cedars.
  • Preponderance- Mainly in Civil trials, preponderance refers to cases with higher chances of the claim being true than untrue.

Basically, you have to prove you have a good case for a judge to decide to bear the case as presented. That is the job of your attorney, in any case. When you call on an attorney, they will listen to your complaint and decide if they want to hear more, basically. If they feel there might be a reason to try the case, they will call you in for a consultation. Erot here, the Law Erm will decide If the case is in their field of expertise and worth compensation.


Once your attorney decides they will take the case, they will help you along the way. No, you do not have to go and get all this information on your own. Your law team will know to ask the appropriate questions to gain the evidence needed to win justice for you.

Many times, they will outsource a private investigator or pull information from the case investigator or police department. Attaining evidence is imperative to the strength of the case, and sometimes this step ooh takes a little while to gather. This is where you may need to be patient and remember that your attorney is here for you and working in your best interest.

"With Carpenter & Czelusta, you'll experience caring personal attention, legal subject matter expertise, and trial expertise that leads to remarkable results."


When you hire a law team, you hope that they will provide you with the best possible result. At Carpenter & Czelusta, we pride ourselves on working hard to obtain the burden of proof you need and the best possible outcome for your individual case.

While no lawyer can guarantee a particular result for you, we can pledge to you our best efforts as we do so for every single client of our firm.

Christa Carpenter and Eric Czelusta have successfully represented people and families in the following areas of practice:

  • Auto Accidents
  • Insurance Disputes
  • Personal Injury

Contact us today to determine if you have the proof available to gain the compensation you deserve. We will work tirelessly to champion your cause and achieve justice for you.

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