Circumstantial Evidence Definition
Circumstantial evidence is a type of documentation of fault that requires the court or others to make an inference. This means the evidence itself does not directly point to the liable party as the cause of the accident. Instead, the court’s assumption links the liable party to the accident. At Berger and Green, we can often collect enough circumstantial evidence establishing the cause of an accident to convince a judge or jury even though no direct evidence exists.
What Is the Difference in Circumstantial Evidence and Direct Evidence?
Direct evidence stands on its own, pointing directly to the fault of the liable party. A video of a driver running a red light and causing a car accident is an example of direct evidence. This evidence is undisputable. You can see with your own eyes exactly what happened.
On the other hand, circumstantial evidence requires the judge or jury to make certain assumptions in order for the evidence to point at the fault of the driver. Imagine instead of a video, you only have a photo of the other driver’s damaged car at the scene of the crash. While the judge or jury could see the car was at the scene of the crash, they would need to assume the damage occurred in an accident immediately preceding the photo.
The at-fault party might counter this by claiming the visible damage occurred in a previous crash, not at the time of your collision. The court would have to use the other evidence in the case to determine who is telling the truth about how the accident occurred.
Why Do Many People Consider Circumstantial Evidence “Weak”?
Collecting and presenting as much evidence as possible is paramount to recovering the compensation you deserve in a personal injury case. We use both direct and circumstantial evidence to support your claim and prove the other party is liable for your accident and the resulting injuries.
Some people believe circumstantial evidence is not strong enough to support a winning case on its own. This is not always true. If the circumstantial evidence clearly suggests the judge and jury reach a certain conclusion, it can be just as strong as direct evidence. If there is a chance the court may come to a different assumption about the situation, the circumstantial evidence is too weak to stand on its own. However, since we only need to prove a preponderance of the evidence in a Pennsylvania civil case, we can sometimes win cases with only circumstantial evidence.
The Attorneys at Berger and Green Can Prove Your Pittsburgh Personal Injury Claim
At Berger and Green, our skilled personal injury attorneys know what it takes to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible with your claim. We can collect a full range of evidence to prove fault and liability in your case and will fight for your fair compensation. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule an appointment with a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer.