To succeed in the legal arena, whether criminal or civil, an individual needs to have a firm grasp on many aspects of the field. Of course, a criminal defendant needs to understand the law they are accused of breaking, as well as any potential penalties they may face. But that’s not all. The legal field is shaped not only by statutory law, but also by case law, the rules of trial procedure, and the rules of evidence. These rules can be used to one’s advantage, but those who are unfamiliar with them and fail to utilize them can be taken advantage of by knowledgeable prosecutors.
Hearsay is a perfect example. Hearsay is a statement made outside court, but which is presented as evidence by another individual during a trial for purposes of submitting that statement as a fact. Although hearsay is generally inadmissible, it is only disallowed when a proper timely objection is made. Those who fail to object to it may not only have questionable statements made by others used against them, but they also fail to preserve the issue for appeal.
It is also important to know that there are a number of exceptions to the general bar on hearsay. For example, a statement made by a party opponent is not hearsay. Additionally, business records, excited utterances, statements about one’s then-existing mental condition, and statements made for the purposes of medical treatment are all exempt from the general ban on hearsay. However, in order to successfully submit these statements, a proper foundation must be laid, and the statement’s proponent must be ready to respond to a hearsay objection.
In the context of a wrongful death lawsuit, legal issues like hearsay can be critical. After all, the statement of one individual can reshape the course of a trial, having a profound impact on the outcome. Therefore, those who are seeking compensation for damages they have suffered from the unexpected loss of a loved one need to ensure that their case is fully prepared before moving forward.