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March 2014

Making Objections in Litigation

Objections in General

Objections have other uses as well. Sometimes trial lawyers object to questions that are probably proper simply to send a message to the witness that the question is one of particular importance. The objection communicates to the witness that he or she needs to take extra care in formulating the answer. The objection gives the witness a couple of extra moments to do just…

Closing Argument in Personal Injury Litigation

CLOSING ARGUMENT

The closing argument represents the lawyers’ last chance to directly influence the jury. As opposed to an opening statement, the closing address is more than a statement of the evidence-it is an argument. Whereas the opening statement sets the stage for the trial by informing the jury what the evidence will show, the closing statement goes much further. The lawyers during…

Making Objections in Personal Injury Litigation

Argumentative

The objection that a question is argumentative is a powerful weapon in the trial lawyer’s arsenal. Attorneys tend to get quite carried away during cross-examination. This objection reigns in some of the more hotly worded questions. For example, the question, “Do you want this jury to believe that you were only going 25 m.p.h. at the time of the accident?” is argumentative and…

More Objections in Personal Injury Litigation

Irrelevant

Irrelevant is a commonly made objection. A question is relevant if the answer really matters to the case. Conversely, a question is irrelevant if the answer does not make the facts more or less true than they would be without that answer.

Sometimes the answer may have some relevance to the case but would be so unfairly prejudicial that the judge will not permit it. For example,…

Standard Objections in Personal Injury Litigation

OBJECTIONS

Objections are the trial lawyer’s tool for preventing the admission of unfair evidence for the jury’s consideration. Some of the most frequently made objections are that the question is leading, irrelevant, beyond the scope, argumentative, assumes a fact not in evidence, or has been asked and answered.

Leading Questions

A leading question is one that improperly leads t…

Comparative Negligence and Assumption of Risk

Comparative Negligence

One of the primary defenses to a personal injury case involves the concept of comparative negligence. To understand this concept, you must first consider that the total amount of negligence involved in the accident equals 100%. This total is divided between the negligence of the defendant (or defendants) and the plaintiff’s comparative negligence. Your recovery is…

The Defense Case in Personal Injury Litigation

THE DEFENSE CASE

When all your evidence has been presented, your attorney rests your case. The defense attorney may then ask the judge to dismiss the case for insufficient proof. This virtually never works, yet for technical reasons the insurance company’s lawyer often makes this request. Then the presentation of the defense case begins.

The first witness presented by the defense is…

Proving Causation in Personal Injury Litigation

CAUSATION

It is not enough to show that a defendant engaged in negligent or careless conduct. To recover in a personal injury case, you must prove not just negligence, but also that this negligence was the legal cause of your injuries. Legal cause is shown if the negligence was a substantial factor in producing the harm. An act is not considered a substantial factor in producing the harm if…

Loss of Consortium in Personal Injury Litigation

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is an additional element of damages in a personal injury claim. Loss of consortium involves damages suffered by your spouse. Your spouse is entitled to be compensated for the reasonable value of the services that you can no longer perform. Your spouse is entitled to remuneration for any loss of support, aid, assistance, companionship, comfort, protection,…

Loss of Earnings in Personal Injury Litigation

Loss of Earnings and Earning Capacity

Any other significant losses or damages must be proven through the testimony of other expert witnesses or in some other legally acceptable way. For example, if you can no longer perform your job because of your injuries, an economist and a vocational expert may have to testify. This testimony will review the types of work available and appropriate for you…

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