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Evidentiary Standards and the Burden of Proof in New York

In New York, plaintiffs bear the burden of proof in personal injury cases, which means that they must prove that the defendant was at fault for the accident and injuries. In general, evidentiary standards are typically preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence for civil cases and proof beyond a reasonable doubt for criminal cases. This article looks at the evidentiary standards in New York and how the burden of proof applies to cases pursued in our state.

New York’s Evidentiary Standards

New York’s evidentiary standard in the civil justice system is a preponderance of the evidence, which means that your personal injury attorney must prove that the defendant is most likely at fault for the relevant damages. You and your attorney must be able to show that the defendant was more likely than not to have caused injuries, which is a lower burden of proof than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is what New York civil courts abide by and what we are experts in proving at the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum. Evidentiary standards are important because they determine who is responsible for presenting evidence to prove or defeat a claim, as well as how much evidence is necessary for this purpose.

However, preponderance of the evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt are not the only evidentiary standards that are considered for lawsuits. Clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard than preponderance of the evidence and requires a plaintiff to show that a certain fact is more likely to be true than not true. Substantial evidence is the standard of proof that is applied in administrative law cases. Probable cause is often applied in criminal law cases to balance Fourth Amendment rights regarding citizen privacy with the actions of law enforcement officers. Reasonable belief and reasonable suspicion are also used when police actions are involved in criminal matters, while credible evidence involves evidence that is not necessarily true but is believable and worth a jury’s consideration.

What Is Burden of Proof?

A burden of proof is the responsibility of a party to show evidence the furthers a claim in a lawsuit. For New York civil cases, this typically involves a plaintiff having the burden of proof to show that a defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries following an accident. For claims based on negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty of care at the time of the accident, that this duty of care was breached, that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and that the plaintiff suffered damages due to these injuries.

A burden of proof may require a plaintiff to produce documents, objects, or witness testimony to present his or her case. Once this is done, the defendant has a burden of proof to dispute the plaintiff’s evidence or present new evidence to support the defense’s argument.

How Our Office Can Help

With a deeper understanding of evidentiary standards and burdens of proof, you can make a better decision about whether you should purse a personal injury claim in New York. Although the burden of proof in a civil case is considerably lower than in a criminal case, it can still be very challenging to collect and present the evidence needed to be successful after a personal injury violation.

This is why people who have been involved in auto accidents, slip and falls, wrongful deaths, construction accidents, traumatic brain injuries, bone fractures, assault and rape, and subway and accidents turn to Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum, Esq. for help in proving their cases. Attorney Kestenbaum is devoted to his clients and always personally available to take his clients’ telephone calls to address their questions and concerns.

To learn more about how evidentiary standards and burdens of proof apply to your specific case, please contact our office at 718-237-5586 or fill out our online form for a free case review. We look forward to serving you in Brooklyn.


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