The Standard of Evidence for Lawsuits Involving Insurance Companies
There are many types of lawsuits, but what they all have in common is that the judge or jury bases their decision on evidence. Before the case makes it to trial (if it ever does; most cases do not go to trial), the parties in the lawsuit engage in discovery, where they send each other information about the evidence they plan to present in court. You and your lawyers get to review the other party’s evidence and decide how to interpret it or, if applicable, to cast doubt on it. Sometimes the parties even disagree about which evidence the other side should be allowed to present. If your insurance company is facing a lawsuit about a denied insurance claim, a Brownsville insurance defense lawyer can help you evaluate the evidence in your case and present it in a way that strengthens your claims.
What Is a Preponderance of the Evidence?
Plaintiffs in civil lawsuits, including lawsuits against insurance companies, are often relieved to find out that they do not have to convince the court beyond a reasonable doubt of the truthfulness of their claims. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of evidence for criminal cases because the defendant’s liberty is at stake; if the jury returns a verdict of guilty when they are only 80 percent sure that the defendant committed the crime, it means that there is a 20 percent chance of sending an innocent person to prison.
In civil cases, the only thing possible consequences are that the defendant does or does not pay the money that the plaintiff is requesting. If an appeals court later reverses the ruling, the plaintiff can return the money to the defendant. It is possible to pay back someone’s money, but not their freedom. Therefore, the standard of evidence is called “a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that the judge is more than 50 percent certain that what the plaintiff is claiming is true. Therefore, defendants have a challenging task in civil lawsuits. Even if the court is 49 percent sure that the defendant is correct, the court rules in favor of the plaintiff. Therefore, you must do more than convince the judge that there is a small chance that what the plaintiff is saying might not be true.
Choose Your Strategy Based on the Evidence Presented by the Plaintiff
Most cases against insurance companies do not go to trial. Often, it is a case of the parties’ lawyers reaching an agreement about a fair settlement. This can be the most favorable outcome for the defendant; you can agree on an amount the plaintiff considers fair but which is much less than a judge would order you to pay at trial.
Let Us Help You Today
A Brownsville insurance defense lawyer can help protect you from having to pay enormous judgments and settlements to plaintiffs. Contact Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer, L.L.P. for help with your case.