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Negative Evidence Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Negative Evidence Cases

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This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Negative Evidence.  For more information about negative evidence see the pages on Wikipedia 

Negative Evidence-Cases

1986 Morris v. Royal Globe Ins. Co., 230 Va. 498, 338 S.E.2d 642.

Negative testimony is entitled to no weight and creates no conflict in evidence to be resolved by trier of fact. The court considered various statements to determine which are negative testimony.

1978 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Greenfield, 219 Va. 122, 244 S.E.2d 781.

Positive testimony of single witness, whose credibility is unimpeached, that he saw or heard particular thing at particular time or place ordinarily outweighs as matter of law testimony of any number of credible witnesses who, with same opportunity, say that they did not see or hear it. If there is evidence that one who denies fact had good opportunity to see or hear, and evidence demonstrates that he probably would have seen or heard event if it had occurred, then such evidence produces conflict in evidence to be decided by trier of fact.

1976 Bunn v. Norfolk, F. & D. Ry., 217 Va. 45, 225 S.E.2d 375.

Positive testimony outweighs negative equally credible testimony. Opportunity of witness to hear railroad signals was limited.

1973 Mitchell v. Lee, 213 Va. 629, 194 S.E.2d 737.

Plaintiff’s testimony that she did not see sign is merely negative testimony and is indicative of fact that she was not keeping proper lookout.

1968 National Union Fire Ins. v. Bruce, 208 Va. 595, 159 S.E.2d 815.

Positive testimony of credible witness ordinarily outweighs negative evidence of number of witnesses. But this rule does not always apply where one witness says he did not see that which another says did occur. If there is evidence that witness had good opportunity to see and that he probably would have seen it if it had occurred or that his attention was drawn to situation, then his testimony is positive and not negative.

1965 Skinner v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 206 Va. 649, 145 S.E.2d 170.

Railroad crossing accident. Witnesses testified they did not hear train signals. This negative evidence must be evaluated in light of fact that their opportunity to hear was limited and their attention was diverted by other matters.

1959 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Sykes, 200 Va. 541, 106 S.E.2d 734.

Positive testimony ordinarily outweighs that of number of other witnesses, equally credible, who with same opportunities testify merely that they did not see or hear thing in question.

1958 Railway Co. v. Barden, 200 Va. 98, 104 S.E.2d 13.

Positive testimony of credible witness who testifies, that he saw or heard particular thing at particular time, ordinarily outweighs that of number of other witnesses equally credible who with same opportunity testify merely that they did not see or hear it.

1955 Norfolk & P.R.R. v. C.F. Mueller Co., 197 Va. 533, 90 S.E.2d 135.

Plaintiff stated that he heard no warning bell; however, defendant’s crew testified unequivocally that bell was rung as required by law. Plaintiff’s negative testimony was lacking in probative value.

1955 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Hanes, 196 Va. 806, 86 S.E.2d 122.

Where witness testifies that he did not hear train signals, this may not be disregarded as purely negative in character and devoid of probative value where conditions are such that he probably would have heard them.

1953 Bangley v. Virginian Ry., 195 Va. 340, 78 S.E.2d 696.

Jury properly instructed that “the testimony of a witness that he did not hear a whistle blow or a bell ring is not entitled to the same weight” as positive testimony of one who says that whistle and bell were sounded, unless it appears that former had as good opportunity to hear whistle and bell, and that it is probable that he would have heard them.

1949 Butler v. Darden, 189 Va. 459, 53 S.E.2d 146.

Negative evidence not sufficient to rebut positive evidence.

1948 Ivory Storage v. Atlantic Coast Line R.R., 187 Va. 857, 48 S.E.2d 242.

Negative evidence of plaintiff that he did not hear whistle of train is not sufficient to raise issue of fact in light of positive testimony that bell was rung.

1948 Nichols v. Southern Ry., 187 Va. 89, 45 S.E.2d 913.

Negative evidence is not sufficient to overcome positive evidence.

1945 Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Clements, 184 Va. 656, 36 S.E.2d 553.

Trial court in this railroad crossing case held that there was no positive evidence that bell of diesel engine was not ringing and instructed jury, without objection from plaintiff, that it must be taken as proven fact that bell was ringing.

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Negative Evidence Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

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