Car accident burden of proof in Wisconsin is by a preponderance of the evidence. This means the injured person in a motor vehicle accident or collision must prove his or her case. To recover for personal injuries, the accident victim must prove the crash was the other driver’s fault and must prove what medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering were caused by the accident. The degree or level of proof is called ordinary. Wisconsin jury instruction 200 defines the ordinary civil burden of proof as follows:
Certain questions in the verdict ask that you answer the questions “yes” or “no”. The party who wants you to answer the questions “yes” has the burden of proof as to those questions. This burden is to satisfy you by the greater weight of the credible evidence, to a reasonable certainty, that “yes” should be your answer to the verdict questions.
The greater weight of the credible evidence means that the evidence in favor of a “yes” answer has more convincing power than the evidence opposed to it. Credible evidence means evidence you believe in light of reason and common sense.
“Reasonable certainty” means that you are persuaded based upon a rational consideration of the evidence. Absolute certainty is not required, but a guess is not enough to meet the burden of proof.
The use of the phrase “reasonable certainty” is unfortunate as some jurors may conjure beyond a reasonable doubt when they hear reasonable certainty and that is not correct. Wisconsin case law defines the civil ordinary burden of proof as proving that A is “more likely than not” compared to B. Put another way, the plaintiff must prove that the weight of the credible evidence is 51% to 49% in the plaintiff’s favor that the defendant caused the crash and the money value of the medical bills and lost wages are what is claimed.
Wisconsin jury instruction 205 regarding damages puts it this way:
In considering the amount to be inserted by you in answer to each damage question, the burden rests upon each person claiming damages to convince you by the greater weight of the credible evidence, to a reasonable certainty, that the person sustained damages (with respect to the element or elements mentioned in the question) and the amount of the damages.
The amount you insert should reasonably compensate the person named in the question for the damages from the (accident) (occurrence.)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin attorneys McCormick Law Office know the car accident burden of proof and we gather evidence to support our client in proving the other driver caused the collision and in proving medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering.