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Definition of Preponderance of Evidence

A preponderance of evidence is the level of evidence needed for a plaintiff to win their civil action or other tort lawsuits, including a personal injury claim. A preponderance of evidence is the same as proving the defendant "is more likely than not" responsible for the plaintiff's injuries. There is no particular formula for determining whether the plaintiff has met this burden of proof. In a civil case the jury or judge will hear all of the evidence from both the plaintiff and the defendant and if they believe there is a preponderance of evidence they will find for the plaintiff.

Some civil cases will, however, have a higher level of proof which is "clear and convincing evidence." This standard generally appears in child custody cases where the rights of another person may be affected. Preponderance of the evidence is also contrasted with "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the higher standard of evidence required to convict a defendant in a criminal trial.

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