Making Objections in Personal Injury Litigation
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 should be objected to. Questions are supposed to be worded simply, directly, and with the purpose of eliciting useful information concerning the accident. Questions that argue with the witness’ statements are objectionable as argumentative.
Asked and Answered
The objection that a question has been asked and answered seeks to avoid repetition. Attorneys frequently ask a witness during direct examination the same question over and over in order to hammer a favorable point home to the jury. Many judges will sustain the asked and answered objection here. This objection is also used during cross-examination. If a lawyer does not like the answer a defendant gave the first time asked, he or she may ask it again later in the cross. The astute lawyer on the other side will object that the question has already been asked and answered.
Assumes Facts not in Evidence
Assumes a fact not in evidence is an objection the attorney must keep at the ready. The question, “How fast were you going when you struck the plaintiff’s car in the rear?” is inappropriate if it has not first been established that the defendant actually rear-ended you. This is sometimes also referred to as a foundational objection. The foundational evidence (a rear-end hit) must first be proved before the question may be asked. The objection here would be either, The question lacks the proper foundation or The question assumes a fact not in evidence.