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Florida Personal Injury Law: Burden of Proof

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 7, 2010

Movies and television often use legal terms like “burden of proof” as plot devices and bend their meanings a bit to create more drama. Phrases such as “proving beyond a shadow of a doubt” do not exist in the legal world despite their enduring popularity in TV and movie scripts. If a personal injury case in Florida goes to a civil jury trial, cases must be proven through a phrase that does exist in the legal world, “preponderance of the evidence.” For a more detailed explanation of burden of proof, preponderance of evidence or another legal term, contact experienced Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham. Many of these legal terms are not easily accessible, and if you or someone you care for has been injured, you really should have a Central Florida personal injury lawyer explain them in detail.

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In tort cases, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the case by the aforementioned standard, “a preponderance of the evidence.” Burden of proof is a phrase more often used in criminal cases. Generally speaking, there are two different kinds of burdens of proof:

•    Legal burden
Also called “burden of persuasion,” this legal obligation stays on one party for the duration of a claim. After the burden has been discharged to the satisfaction of the trier of fact, the party that carries the burden will have succeeded in his or her claim. The trier of fact is the person who determines facts in a legal proceeding; a trier of fact can also be a jury.

•    Evidentiary burden
Also called “burden of leading evidence,” an evidentiary burden is a legal obligation that shifts back and forth between parties during a trial. For example, if one party submits evidence, the evidentiary burden shifts to the other party to dispute the validity of the evidence.

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It’s important to remember that the definitions provided above are simplifications of very important legal terms. If you or someone you care for has been injured, you can schedule a consultation with experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham. He can investigate your case, explain burden of proof and other important legal terms and may be able to help you and your family recover the compensation that you are entitled to under the law.

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James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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