Personal Injury Attorneys in Bethlehem
When you’re hurt in a personal injury accident, you begin to think about the legal case ahead. You might wonder what’s going to be admissible in court. One legal term that you may have heard about is hearsay. You may wonder how it can impact evidence in a trial. Our personal injury attorney in Bethlehem explains what hearsay is in a personal injury case.
What is hearsay?
Hearsay in a personal injury case is an out of court assertion that a party wants to admit in order to prove its truth. There are two components to hearsay. First, it is something that a person says, writes or otherwise expresses outside of a formal court hearing. Second, it must be something that a person wants admitted in order to prove the truth of the statement itself.
Generally, hearsay is not admissible in court. The opposing party and their personal injury law firm may request that the court exclude hearsay evidence. However, not all statements outside of court are hearsay. In addition, there are some exceptions where a statement is admissible even if it is hearsay.
What is an example?
Say, for example, a witness is at the scene of a personal injury slip and fall accident. The witness sees the victim hurt. The witness says “It looks like her arm is falling off.”
Later, there is a dispute as to whether the victim’s injuries are the result of the slip and fall. The defense tries to say that the plaintiff is exaggerating their injuries. The plaintiff and their personal injury attorney move to admit the statement of the witness at the trial that the victim was badly injured at the time of the accident.
Is the witness’ statement hearsay?
At first glance, the statement is hearsay. It’s a statement that is made out of court. The personal injury attorney wants to admit the statement in order to prove it’s truth – they are trying to prove that the victim looked like their arm was falling off. The statement qualifies as hearsay under the court rules of hearsay evidence.
Are there exceptions to the hearsay rule?
Even though the statement is hearsay, in this case, it is still admissible in court. There are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule. The exception that applies to this statement is a present-sense impression. The rule is Pennsylvania rule of evidence 803(1). A present-sense impression is something a person says while they are experiencing the event that they are describing. The witness made the statement that the victim’s arm was falling off while the witness was looking at the victim and experiencing their injuries.
Can I use hearsay to my advantage in a personal injury case?
Hearsay is a complex issue in any personal injury case. Some out of court statements are not hearsay. Other statements meet the definition of hearsay and are not admissible in court. However, there are some statements that meet the definition of hearsay that are still possible to admit in trial. Your personal injury law firm can assist you with evaluating statements and presenting evidence in court in a way that is advantageous to your claim.
Contact Durlofsky Law Offices
Durlofsky Law Offices provides exceptional legal representation for victims of personal injury. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Bethlehem today for a legal consultation.