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Types of Evidence

It’s easy to sue and easy to accuse.
But without the right evidence, you’ll lose.

Ultimately, the strength of your case depends entirely on the strength of the evidence that will be presented at trial. To prove the allegations of the lawsuit, a plaintiff’s attorney must call witnesses to testify about the incident and the damages resulting from it and, in most cases, must produce documents to establish the factual basis for recovery.

Rather than focus on the number of witnesses or number of exhibits, smart trial attorneys focus on the quality of the evidence before deciding what to present in court. In general, there are two types of evidence:

  1. Direct Evidence - this often consists of eyewitness testimony in which a witness provides a first hand account of the events; and
  2. Circumstantial Evidence - this is indirect proof of a chain of events and circumstances that corroborate the existence of certain facts.

Thus, if a witness testifies that a wild fox ran across the campsite, her testimony is direct evidence to the fox’s sprint. Conversely, a witness who arrived at the scene shortly thereafter could not provide direct evidence of the fox’s existence. But if that person took pictures of fresh fox prints in the snow surrounding the campsite, these photographs would provide circumstantial evidence of the fox’s travel.

While you might think that direct evidence is stronger than circumstantial evidence, this is not necessarily true. Indeed, the circumstantial evidence in those pictures may be worth far more than a thousand words from a supposed eyewitness of doubtful credibility. Consequently, where both are available, experienced trial lawyers typically produce direct and circumstantial evidence to present the strongest possible case.