Personal Injury Overview
What is Foreseeability?
Varying Degrees of Negligence
Difference Between Recklessness and Negligence
Trying a Personal Injury Case
Four Common Forms of Evidence Used in Court
How Objections Work in a Trial
Proving Your Injuries to a Jury
What is the Preponderance of The Evidence?
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Evidence Used in a Personal Injury Case
A discussion of four types of evidence commonly used in a personal injury case
Evidence plays an important role in the judicial process. It is what is used to prove or disprove different parts of a client’s case. There are four main types of evidence that are used in court, testimonial evidence, exhibits, documentary evidence, and demonstrative evidence.
Testimony is evidence that is offered by a witness regarding their understanding of some event. There are two kinds of witnesses, first hand witnesses or eyewitnesses, and expert witnesses. First hand witnesses testify about their observation or understanding of an event. For example, if a car ran a red light and crashed into another car, an eyewitness who was present at the scene of the crash could testify about his observation of the events. Eyewitness testimony is some of the most common and persuasive evidence for a jury.
On the other hand, expert testimony is testimony given by someone who is an expert in his or her field who gives their understanding of an event. For example, imagine you are in a car accident and the other driver claims that he hit you because his brakes did not work, an expert witness could examine the brakes in the car and testify about whether or not the brakes are really broken.
Another type of evidence is an exhibit. Exhibits are physical objects that are presented into evidence. For example, if you are injured in a workplace accident because of someone else’s negligence your attorney could use an exhibit illustrating all of the different injuries that you sustained and the different medical procedure you have undergone. Exhibits can be very persuasive for a jury because people are generally more persuaded by visual representations of injuries rather than just spoken descriptions of injuries.
Documentary evidence is evidence that is presented in the form of documents. For example, in many personal injury cases, the victim will suffer from some injury that requires medical attention. As part of the damages for the personal injury claim the victim is entitled to receive the cost of his medical care. In order to prove what the cost of his medical care is, the victim could present a copy of his actual medical bill to the court. This would be documentary evidence. Documentary evidence is useful because it is usually pretty clear cut and easy to understand.
Demonstrative evidence is evidence that represents some other tangible item, like a picture or a video or sound recording. For example, if you are injured in an automobile accident, you could use a photograph of the scene as well of the damage done to your car and any injuries that you sustained. Demonstrative evidence can be very useful because juries respond well to visual representation of information.
You Should Hire an Experienced Attorney to Represent You In Your Court Case
Knowing what kind of evidence is useful and persuasive for a jury is something that takes experience. You want an attorney that has years of experience of using different pieces of evidence to successfully persuade a jury of their client’s case. The attorneys at Our Law Offices have over twenty years of experience and have won literally thousands of cases for their clients. Call today for a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » “Objection!” Rather, How Objections Work
How objections work in a personal injury trial
Non-lawyers have a particularly negative impression of objections and the rules of evidence in general. Many people feel that these are just legal maneuvers that prevent the truth to be brought out in court. The truth is objections are the way that the legal system keeps everything fair, it prevents individuals from saying things that they have heard other people say, and allows for only the facts of the case to be presented. The attorneys at Our Law Offices are well versed in trial procedure, we know how and when to use the appropriate objection, and can make sure that your case is not brought down by inaccurate testimony and half-truths presented by the opposing counsel. We can assist you in your Houston area personal injury action.
When can parties object?
Unlike many popular TV legal dramas, most cases do not go to court. There are many steps that occur before a trial and many of which the attorneys can object upon. Trial is always the last step of the legal process. Before individuals go to trial, their attorneys conduct pre-trial discovery, and often conduct pre-trial depositions. These are the legal proceedings where objections often occur.
All cases have pre-trial discovery that occurs. This is used to allow both sides to become aware of the facts of the case as well as to allow both sides access to information that they may not otherwise be able to get. An example of this would be if an individual is injury by a defective product, the defendant (product manufacturer) could get access to the injured party’s medical records in regards to the medical treatment he received that arose from the injury that he is claiming, and the injured party (plaintiff) could get access to information about the product and what makes it particularly dangerous.
Pre-trial discovery consists of interrogatories, request for production, request for admissions, and requests for disclosure. The only form of discovery that does not allow objections is a request for disclosure. Interrogatories are basically written testimony, the lawyer drafts a question and you will answer it just like you would if you were on the witness stand, these answers are under oath. Request for admissions also ask questions to the other party, these are a set of true false questions that you are also answer under oath as true or false. Requests for production is the request for information, depending on the type of case you may have, these can range from emails, medical records, accident reports, memos, or any other non-privileged, relevant document.
Most common objections in Pre-Trial discovery:
Common objections that occur in pre-trial discovery are that the information sought is irrelevant. Many times opposing counsel will try to seek information that is not relevant to the case, this information will be used to try to paint you in a negative light.
an objection based on privileged information is used to protect the client from revealing information that is not admissible based on privilege. The most common privilege asserted in civil cases is attorney-client privilege, which is information that was discussed between the client and the attorney, such as trial strategies.
Attorneys request extremely specific information from time to time. This information may be difficult to obtain and the level of difficulty or amount of time used to obtain the information will outweigh any potential benefit that the other party may get by obtaining the information.
Objections in Depositions:
Depositions are another form of pre-trial discovery. Depositions are open testimony that is asked in a non-court setting. These are generally used to get as much information as possible from the witness, so as to focus on the most relevant testimony in trial testimony. Depositions can last several hours and the objections that may be used are limited. Proper objections for deposition testimony are objections asserting privilege a privilege over the answer to the question. Other objections that are used are objections for form, which requires that all testimony that is sought must be asked in the form of a question. The last form of deposition objection is harassment; this is only used if the attorney conducting the deposition is acting in manner that is unduly harassing the witness.
Most Common Objections at Trial:
Objections in trials are vast, all the rules of evidence come into play in a trial setting and it is often a complex manner to determine what question is objectionable and what is not. The most common objections at trial are:
Hearsay is a statement made out of court offered in testimony to prove the truth of the matter asserted. An example of hearsay testimony would be if person A observed a car accident and walked down the street and told person B, “The red car ran a red light.” If person B did not see the accident and testifies based on what person A told him, this would constitute hearsay.
Leading occurs when an attorney asks a question on direct that suggest an answer. Leading is allowed on cross. An example of leading would be if an attorney asks one of their witnesses “you saw person A at the scene of the accident, didn’t you?”
Much like in pre-trial discovery, an attorneys question must be relevant to the issue at hand. Attorneys may be allowed a little lead way to make their point, but the ultimate point must be within the scope of the issue.
Objections and the entire trial process are complex matters; people who attempt to bring their claims before a court without an attorney are at a clear disadvantage even if the facts support their case. Knowing how to present evidence and how and when to make objections is imperative to the outcome over your case. The attorneys at Ou rLaw Offices are true litigators; we have substantial experience in and out of the court room and can make sure that your rights are protected. If you have been injured in Houston or in any other area, call to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you will be glad you did.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Proving Your Injuries to a Jury
How to Successfully Demonstrate the Value of Your Claim by Proving the Extent of Your Injuries
In many personal injury cases the plaintiff has the burden of proving their injuries to the jury. The plaintiff will present their case and make two types of claims. The first claim is regarding the liability of the defendant and the second claim is proving the damages for your injuries. This article will discuss proving your damages for your injuries to the jury.
There are challenges in proving damages to the jury. The best and most effective way to prove your injuries to a jury is to choose an experienced personal injury attorney that will successfully show the jury that the injuries you suffered were caused by the defendant.
What do You Have to Prove?
A lot of people think that they have to prove that the injury occurred. The goal is to prove the extent of the injury. Let’s conduct a thought experiment, if I tell you my client suffered a broken leg; what is that broken leg is worth? Think about the first number that comes to your mind for a moment. Now consider this, our firm is litigating two separate cases where the clients have suffered a broken leg. However, in case number one, the client suffered a simple fracture and only needed a cast to repair the injury, and in case number two the client’s femur was shattered. To repair client number two’s leg, he needed to have surgery, which consisted of titanium plates, multiple screws installed, and an external metal frame that was drilled in through his skin and into his bone for a period of nine months.
Now, after hearing the description of these two clients is the number that came to your mind the same for both? The point here is that not all injuries are the same and in order to get ample compensation, your attorney must do an adequate job explaining the extent of your injuries.
What Techniques are Needed to Prove Your Injuries?
There are several techniques that can be used to present your injuries to a jury. Here are a few examples an experienced attorney can use to present your injuries to a jury:
A graphic description outlined by a qualified doctor for the jury to see;
Visual aids that literally illustrates the extent of the injury; and
A journal can be presented that was made by the client and talks about the ordeal of their injuries from beginning to end.
Anything less is not sufficient.
Putting a Number on the Injuries
A plaintiff who lets a jury guess about the cost of repairing his injuries is doing himself a disservice. The plaintiff must provide expert testimony that optimizes the extent of their injuries. For instance, for a client who suffered a broken arm, the medical bills are X amount of dollars. Because of the extent of the injuries the clients loss of income is a Y amount of dollars and also the future medical expenses that will incur are Z amount of dollars.
In order for a jury to understand and relate, you will need to spell it out to receive the compensation you need. You will also need to quantify your pain and suffering and the things that the jury can’t see.
Our Law Offices have been litigating personal injury cases since our doors opened in 1990. We have represented numerous clients in the Houston area. Our attorneys are skillful and experienced in presenting to the jury a client’s injury and providing them with the outcome that they needed. Our attorneys ensure that you will be afforded with the best legal representation that you deserve. If you are intending to file a personal injury lawsuit, then time is of the essence. Call our office today for a free consultation,
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » What is the Preponderance of the Evidence?
Your Legal Burden of Proving Your Personal Injury Case by a Preponderance of Evidence
In a civil personal injury lawsuit you as the plaintiff will need to prove certain things in order for your case to be successful. If you have watched courtroom television shows then you are probably familiar with the concept of ‘probable cause’ or ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ In a criminal case, the defendant must be proven guilty ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Comparatively, in a personal injury lawsuit you must prove your case by a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’
What Does a Preponderance of the Evidence Mean?
When you file a lawsuit you have the responsibility of proving the facts that you are claiming to support your case against the defendant. The way that you will do this is by providing testimony and other types of evidence. Defining what constitutes a preponderance of the evidence can be difficult because it is different depending on the specific circumstances of your lawsuit. Preponderance is basically enough evidence to show that it is more likely than not that the claims that you are making are truthful. You have to simply show that there is more than a fifty percent chance that the injury you suffered was the fault of the defendant. In order to meet this standard in your civil case you don’t have to have a lot of evidence. It just simply must appear that what you are stating happened is probably true. To illustrate, one witness’s testimony that is credible in support of your claim could satisfy this standard for your lawsuit compared to a litany of witnesses with not so credible accounts of the event that gave rise to your claim.
How will I know if my case meets the preponderance of the evidence standard?
As stated previously, you just have to show that the defendant is more likely than not to have caused your injuries. There is no specific formula that your case must strictly abide by in order for you to satisfy this standard. You simply have to persuade the jury that the defendant is the one to blame for your injury by showing that the fair weight of the evidence is in your favor.
At the closing of your trial, the judge will specifically describe to the jurors what guidelines they should follow in analyzing whether your case has provided sufficient proof of the events that you claim to have happened. They will be given a clear description of how to evaluate whether there is a preponderance of the evidence in your favor so that they understand thoroughly. If they feel that the evidence leans towards you, even if ever so slightly, then your lawsuit may be successful. All of the things that will have been presented in trial will be considered. To illustrate, it is like a tipping point. If the weight of the information leans in your direction then you have satisfied your burden.
Evidentiary standards and the different elements that must be proven in a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated. However, they shouldn’t be if you have an attorney that is educated in successfully meeting all of the relevant criteria. The hundreds of cases that Our Law Offices has handled in the past has allowed our attorneys to become highly skillful and experienced in guaranteeing no burden is left unmet. If you have been injured then you have a legal right to be compensated and our attorneys will do everything in their power to make sure that you are able to get the recovery that you deserve.
Every injury is different and therefore every lawsuit is different. Because of that reality, there are innumerable types of evidence that can meet this standard and allow your claim to be successful. If you are unable to meet this standard, however, your lawsuit will fail.
OurLaw Offices has handled literally thousands of personal injury cases and have won the vast majority of them. As a result, our attorneys are well versed and skilled in assuring that your claim meets the appropriate standards of proof and that will enable you to receive a large financial sum. To discuss your potential claim, please contact us.