In civil actions the party who asserts the affirmative of an issue has the burden of proving it on a balance of probabilities. The overall burden of proof in a civil trial is on the injured party.
From time to time an issue may arise where the burden shifts to ICBC. For example, ICBC must prove that the injured party did not take adequate steps to mitigate his/her wage losses.
Meaning of “balance of probabilities”
- What does “proof on a balance of probabilities” mean? It does not mean proof beyond a reasonable doubt - that standard of proof applies only in criminal trials. In civil trials, the party who has the burden of proof on an issue must convince the judge or jury that what that party asserts is more probable than not; that the balance is tipped in that party’s favour. The jury or judge must examine the evidence and determine whether the party who has the burden of proof on an issue is relying on evidence that is more convincing than the evidence relied on by the other side. In short, the jury or judge must decide whether the existence of the contested fact is more probable than not.
- If the evidence on an issue is evenly balanced, so that the judge or jury is unable to say where the balance of probabilities lies, then the decision on that issue must be against the party who had the burden of proving it.
- In deciding whether an issue has been proved on a balance of probabilities, the judge or jury should consider all of the evidence relevant to that issue no matter who produced it.