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December 2018 Archives

A primer on the rule against hearsay

There can be a lot at stake in civil litigation. Depending on the strength of the legal arguments you make in court, a judge or jury may or may not rule in your favor, which could result in significant financial consequences either to your advantage or your disadvantage. Therefore, prior to engaging in civil litigation, you need to make sure that you have not only strong, compelling legal arguments to make, but also a firm understanding of how to best present those arguments to protect your claim.One way to do this is to ensure that you have a full understanding of the rules of evidence. These often come into play when dealing with objections. One common objection is hearsay. Basically, hearsay is a statement that is made outside of court and is testified to by someone else in court, and those statements are offered for the truth of the matter asserted. Although hearsay is generally inadmissible in court, there are a number of exceptions. For example, statements that are made by a party opponent and are not hearsay. Also, business records are an exception to the hearsay rule because they are deemed reliable. The same holds true for an individual's statements pertaining to his or her then existing mental or emotional condition, as well as an individual's statements about an event as he or she is observing it. Even statements that are made to a medical professional for the purposes of receiving medical treatment are deemed reliable enough to be considered an exception to the rule against hearsay.Hearsay is just one of the many objectionable issues that may arise during civil litigation. Therefore, regardless of the type of litigation you find yourself embroiled in, whether it be family law, probate, torts, or some type of appeal, you need to make sure you have a firm understanding of the rules of evidence and how to use them to your advantage. Skilled litigators stand ready to help you with any civil litigation needs you may have, including dealing with evidentiary issues.

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