What Is Circumstantial Evidence in Car Accident Lawsuits?

What is circumstantial evidence? That’s one of the likely questions you’d ask when you’re trying to prove a car accident case. Car crashes happen all time, and because they’re usually unforeseen, it’s difficult to avoid them when they do.

That’s because regardless of how careful you are, another driver’s negligence can make you an auto crash victim. When this happens, one of the first things to do is call a personal injury lawyer to access your case. If your attorney sees a strong case, they will proceed to claim compensation on your behalf.

But getting compensation isn’t possible without enough proof nailing the at-fault driver’s negligence to the tort. Hence, your lawyer will ask you lots of questions and do everything possible to gather substantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is one of such types of proof that will help you win your case. But what does it entail? Does it carry much weight as other types of evidence? We’d let you in on the answers in this article.

What Is Circumstantial Evidence?

Circumstantial evidence is inferential proof. It’s also called indirect evidence. It’s the kind of evidence that draws inferences from the circumstances in a case to arrive at a conclusion.

Instead of glaring and direct proof, circumstantial evidence connects the dots to prove a fact. This type of evidence is suggestive instead of apparent. Since circumstantial evidence helps to prove some points, the courts allow it.

Also, the standard of proof in civil cases is on the balance of probabilities. Therefore, it’s possible to win a case with circumstantial evidence alone. However, the circumstantial evidence must be highly compelling and must run in tandem with the jury’s exact inference. That’s important because the jury can reach a different conclusion from the indirect evidence.

The use of circumstantial evidence is evident in many auto crash lawsuits. For example, imagine that you’re involved in a hit and run. However, you were fortunate to get the car’s plate number before the driver escaped. But upon identifying the driver and the vehicle, the driver denies ever plying that route at any time. There were no witnesses, and it’s your word against the driver.

In such cases, you can only rely on circumstantial evidence. Let’s say that the negligent driver’s car was damaged at some point during the crash. If the driver cannot produce a reasonable explanation for the damage, it could help your case.

It could also be possible that the driver has no alibi for where he was at the time of the crash. Again, GPS can show that they were at the accident scene at the time. It can also be that the at-fault driver’s car has some parts of your vehicle in it.

All those circumstantial evidence, when considered separately, cannot prove the at-fault driver’s fault. However, they will help to prove your case if evaluated together. That’s especially if they are more convincing than whatever explanation the careless driver may cook up.

What Separates Direct and Indirect Evidence? 

To better understand what circumstantial evidence means, we’d compare it to its opposite — direct evidence. Here are the differences between both types of evidence:

  • Observation and Inference 

Direct evidence observes a thing and reports its finding precisely as seen. Direct evidence doesn’t involve the need for logical reasoning. It proves a fact directly without the need for inference.

However, inference and logical reasoning are essentials in circumstantial evidence. If an eyewitness says, “I saw Mr. A crash into Mr. B’s car,” that’s direct evidence. If forensic experts find Mr. A’s fingerprints in the accident scene, that’s indirect evidence.

  • Probative Value 

The probative value of evidence refers to how sufficient it is in proving a fact. Direct evidence, in this sense, has more probative value than circumstantial evidence. That’s because you don’t need a second substantiation for direct evidence. In other words, direct evidence, e.g., the drivers’ confession, can stand on its own.

However, for indirect evidence, this is not the case. You can only paint a clear picture of what happened through a series of circumstantial evidence, not just one.

  • Objectiveness and Subjectiveness 

Direct evidence is objective; it either proves a fact or debunks it. Indirect evidence, on the other hand, is subjective. With more convincing evidence that negates it, the court can quickly discredit circumstantial evidence.

Contact an Expert Car Accident Attorney Now!

Are you a car accident victim? If yes, regardless of the evidence type at your disposal, our personal injury lawyers can help you get compensation for your losses. At Pinder Plotkin LLC, we won’t relent in bringing you the justice you deserve. Your win is our win. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with us.

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