When direct evidence in a dispute isn’t available, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Circumstantial evidence can come to the rescue by piecing together an extensive chain of events and responsibilities for outcomes without having any one piece be 100% conclusive. Discover how this type of evidence works and find out how best it can bolster arguments when there’s no other options.
Direct Evidence vs. Circumstantial Evidence:
In personal injury cases, the strength of certain types of evidence can mean the difference between winning and losing a claim. Direct evidence is normally considered more convincing than indirect or “circumstantial” proof; this divide in reliability plays an integral role when determining outcomes in court.
- Witness accounts and videos can provide invaluable direct evidence in an accident case. By getting a firsthand, visual description of what happened from those affected by the incident, we gain detailed insight into how events unfolded.
- Circumstantial evidence offers indirect clues of what might have transpired. It is not a firsthand account of the witnessed events, but instead pieces together bits and pieces of hints to form a larger concrete picture.
Although circumstantial evidence can offer useful insights into a case, it is ultimately up to the jury’s interpretation. It requires joining of the dots; creating logical connections and assumptions based on what transpired in order for a conclusion about what happened to be drawn. The challenge then lies with convincing a jury that your version holds true.
Example of Circumstantial Evidence in Personal Injury:
Suppose you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, in which a car hits you and then quickly drives away. Despite this, you were able to jot down the license plate number of the car. The police locate the car and its owner, but the driver denies being present at the accident. Nonetheless, there is evidence supporting your account of events as the car has newly sustained damage.
With the help of a qualified attorney, you can demand cell phone records from the suspected driver through a subpoena. If the GPS data from their cell phone reveals their presence at the accident site, it strongly suggests that they are not truthful about the events.
While no single piece of circumstantial evidence provides irrefutable proof, taken as a whole, they create a compelling narrative. Unless the driver can provide credible explanations for all of the evidence, it is likely that a jury would find them responsible for the accident and award you compensation.
How Strong is Circumstantial Evidence in a Personal Injury Case?
Circumstantial evidence can carry substantial weight and is used to win cases on a daily basis, such as car accidents, cases of nursing home abuse, and slip and fall incidents. While a personal injury lawyer would always prefer to have a direct eyewitness to the events, this is not always feasible. In many instances, it is the circumstantial evidence that provides the crucial information and convinces the jury of the details of the case.