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California Personal Injury Proof

Prepare confidently for depositions, hearings, or trial with powerful, tested ways to lay a foundation and handle personal injury witnesses and evidentiary exhibits that prove your case.

Prepare confidently for depositions, hearings, or trial with powerful, tested ways to lay a foundation and handle personal injury witnesses and evidentiary exhibits that prove your case. With its succinct explanation of important evidentiary principles and many sample courtroom dialogues, this book will instruct you in:

  • Examining and impeaching specific types of witnesses
    • Plaintiffs
    • Police officers
    • Technical and medical experts
    • Witnesses on damages
  • Using and introducing exhibits and other evidence
    • Business, hospital, medical, and other records
    • Medical tests and bills
    • Depositions and statements given at accident scenes
    • Photographs, videos, and computer-generated presentations
    • Models, maps, and diagrams
  • Establishing facts through judicial notice and requests for admission


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Prepare confidently for depositions, hearings, or trial with powerful, tested ways to lay a foundation and handle personal injury witnesses and evidentiary exhibits that prove your case. With its succinct explanation of important evidentiary principles and many sample courtroom dialogues, this book will instruct you in:

  • Examining and impeaching specific types of witnesses
    • Plaintiffs
    • Police officers
    • Technical and medical experts
    • Witnesses on damages
  • Using and introducing exhibits and other evidence
    • Business, hospital, medical, and other records
    • Medical tests and bills
    • Depositions and statements given at accident scenes
    • Photographs, videos, and computer-generated presentations
    • Models, maps, and diagrams
  • Establishing facts through judicial notice and requests for admission


1

Examining Witnesses

  • I. INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • A. Importance of Considering Type of Proceeding
      • 1. Court and Jury Trials in General 1.1
      • 2. Judicial Arbitrations 1.2
    • B. Preparing Witness for Direct Examination
      • 1. Need for Witness Preparation 1.3
      • 2. Attendance; Dress; Behavior 1.4
      • 3. How to Answer Questions 1.5
      • 4. Testimony on Time, Speed, Distance 1.6
    • C. Direct Examination Techniques
      • 1. Style and Sequence 1.7
      • 2. Phrasing Questions 1.8
      • 3. Semantics 1.9
      • 4. Addressing and Referring to Parties and Witnesses 1.10
    • D. Using Questions Objectionable in Form
      • 1. Calling for Narrative Answers 1.11
      • 2. Leading
        • a. Description and Use of Leading Questions in General 1.12
        • b. Preliminary and Foundational Matters 1.13
        • c. Experts 1.14
  • II. EXAMINING LAY WITNESSES
    • A. Qualifications
      • 1. Credibility 1.15
      • 2. Role of Competency and Capacity in Assessing Qualifications as Witness
        • a. All Persons Generally Qualified, Absent Exception 1.16
        • b. Children 1.17
      • 3. Personal Knowledge 1.18
    • B. Lay Opinion Testimony
      • 1. General Ability of Competent Lay Witness to Give Opinion Testimony 1.19
      • 2. Subject Matter 1.20
      • 3. Foundation 1.21
  • III. EXAMINATION OF EXPERT WITNESSES
    • A. Establishing Special Qualifications
      • 1. How Witness Is Qualified and What Constitutes Expert Testimony 1.22
      • 2. Reasons for Showing Special Qualifications 1.23
      • 3. Sufficiency of Evidence to Qualify Expert Witness 1.24
      • 4. Offers to Concede 1.25
      • 5. Arguing Comparative Qualifications 1.26
    • B. Expert Opinion Testimony
      • 1. When Expert Opinion Permitted 1.27
      • 2. Subject Matter 1.28
      • 3. Bases for Opinions
        • a. Acceptable "Matter" on Which to Base Opinion 1.29
        • b. California State Court Testimony 1.30
        • c. Federal Court Testimony 1.31
      • 4. Stating Reasons and Bases 1.32
    • C. Using Hypothetical Questions
      • 1. Nature of Questions and Basis for Use 1.33
      • 2. On Direct Examination 1.34
      • 3. On Cross-Examination 1.35
  • IV. REFRESHING MEMORY
    • A. What Constitutes Refreshing Memory 1.36
    • B. Writings Used to Refresh Memory
      • 1. Types of Writings 1.37
      • 2. Before Testimony
        • a. Writings 1.38
        • b. Suggestion 1.39
      • 3. During Testimony
        • a. Writing Handed to Witness or Taken to Stand 1.40
        • b. Leading Questions 1.41
    • C. Adverse Party's Rights 1.42
    • D. Request for Production as Discovery Device 1.43
  • V. TACTICS AGAINST CROSS-EXAMINATION
    • A. Preparing Witness 1.44
    • B. Objecting 1.45
    • C. Eliciting Unfavorable Matter on Direct Examination 1.46
  • VI. REDIRECT EXAMINATION
    • A. Purposes; Limitations 1.47
    • B. Showing Prior Consistent Statements 1.48
  • VII. REBUTTAL 1.49

2

Impeachment

  • I. IMPEACHMENT DEFINED; RELATED CONCEPTS
    • A. Impeachment Defined 2.1
    • B. Related Concepts: Suppression, Spoliation of Evidence 2.2
  • II. GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT
    • A. Bias; Interest; Motive 2.3
    • B. Prior Settlement With Adversary 2.4
    • C. Faulty Perception or Recollection
      • 1. Examining Witness on Perception or Recollection 2.5
      • 2. Evidence of Witness's Impairment 2.6
      • 3. Expert Testimony on Witness's Ability to Perceive Events 2.7
    • D. Bad Character for Veracity 2.8
    • E. Prior Felony Conviction 2.9
    • F. Prior Inconsistent Statements
      • 1. Identifying Inconsistent Statements; Uses Summarized 2.10
      • 2. Pinning Down Testimony 2.11
      • 3. Not Confronting Witness With Statement 2.12
      • 4. Confronting Witness With Statement 2.13
      • 5. Pressing for Admission 2.14
      • 6. Introducing Extrinsic Evidence of Prior Inconsistent Statement 2.15
    • G. Contradictory Facts; Introducing Otherwise Inadmissible Matter 2.16
  • III. IMPEACHING EXPERTS
    • A. Grounds and Techniques in General 2.17
    • B. Expert's Qualifications
      • 1. Full Cross-Examination Permitted 2.18
      • 2. Bringing Out Gaps and Weaknesses in Qualifications 2.19
    • C. Fees and Court Appearances 2.20
    • D. Bias, Interest, Motive; Inconsistency 2.21
    • E. Subject of Testimony 2.22
    • F. Reasons and Bases for Opinion 2.23
    • G. Use of Technical or Medical Publications to Impeach Expert
      • 1. Methods of Impeachment Summarized 2.24
      • 2. Impeachment Using Specific Authorities 2.25

3

Plaintiff

  • I. EXTENT OF PLAINTIFF'S TESTIMONY
    • A. Direct Examination 3.1
    • B. Cross-Examination 3.2
  • II. PLAINTIFF'S PERSONAL BACKGROUND
    • A. Scope of Examination 3.3
    • B. Name; Age; Birthplace; Residence 3.4
    • C. Family Status 3.5
    • D. Occupation and Work History 3.6
    • E. Financial Status; Need to Return to Work 3.7
    • F. Social Media Presence 3.7A
  • III. LIABILITY TESTIMONY USING VEHICLE ACCIDENTS FOR ILLUSTRATION
    • A. Categories of Facts Discussed 3.8
    • B. Plaintiff's Condition and Appearance Before Accident 3.9
    • C. Destination; Route; Purpose 3.10
    • D. Vehicle Description 3.11
    • E. Scene of Accident; Time of Day; Weather 3.12
    • F. Chronology of Accident
      • 1. Plaintiff's and Defendant's Conduct Before Impact 3.13
      • 2. Impact 3.14
      • 3. Conditions After Impact 3.15
    • G. Defendant's Admissions; Insurance 3.16
    • H. Habit or Custom 3.17
    • I. Plaintiff's Other Accidents 3.18
  • IV. INJURY TESTIMONY
    • A. Focus on Showing Effects of Injury 3.19
    • B. Health Before Accident
      • 1. Good Health 3.20
      • 2. Prior Conditions 3.21
      • 3. Aggravation of Prior Condition; Predisposition to Injury 3.22
    • C. Mechanics of Injury 3.23
    • D. Description of Injuries and Treatment 3.24
    • E. Pain 3.25
    • F. Disability; Impairment of Normal Life
      • 1. Showing Disability to Support Claims for Lost Wages and Impaired Earning Capacity 3.26
      • 2. Workers 3.27
      • 3. Homemakers 3.28
    • G. Mental Suffering 3.29
  • V. IMPAIRED EARNING CAPACITY
    • A. Scope of Claim and Means of Proof 3.30
    • B. Checklists
      • 1. Checklist: Effect of Injury When Plaintiff Was Employed at Time of Injury 3.31
      • 2. Checklist: Effect of Injury When Plaintiff Was Not Employed at Time of Injury 3.32
      • 3. Checklist: Effect of Injury on Future Earning Capacity 3.33
    • C. Plaintiff's Testimony on Loss of Earnings 3.34
    • D. Plaintiff's Testimony as Expert 3.35

4

Police Officers

  • I. PREPARATION
    • A. Value of Officer as Witness 4.1
    • B. Reviewing Accident Report
      • 1. Importance of Prompt Review 4.2
      • 2. Focusing on Specific Information in Report 4.3
    • C. Identifying the Investigating Officer 4.4
    • D. Interviewing the Officer
      • 1. Purpose of Interview 4.5
      • 2. Arranging Time and Place for Interview 4.6
      • 3. Compensation for Interview 4.7
      • 4. Summary of Interview Questions for Officer 4.8
      • 5. Evaluating Officer as Witness 4.9
    • E. Officer's Deposition 4.10
    • F. Compelling Attendance at Trial
      • 1. Using Subpoena 4.11
      • 2. Range of Subpoena 4.12
      • 3. Depositing Fees; Reimbursing Police Agency 4.13
    • G. Courthouse Interview 4.14
  • II. QUALIFYING OFFICER AS GENERAL WITNESS
    • A. Competency and Credibility as Witness 4.15
    • B. Police and Investigative Background 4.16
    • C. Impartiality 4.17
    • D. Investigative Procedure 4.18
  • III. USING REPORT TO AID TESTIMONY
    • A. Evaluating Officer's Ability to Testify Regarding Accident Report 4.19
    • B. Refreshing Memory 4.20
    • C. Past Recollection Recorded 4.21
  • IV. OFFICER'S ACTIVITIES AND OBSERVATIONS AT ACCIDENT SCENE
    • A. Time of Arrival 4.22
    • B. Aiding Victims; Clearing Traffic 4.23
    • C. The Roadway
      • 1. Using Diagram 4.24
      • 2. Layout; Contour; Surface 4.25
      • 3. Obstructions 4.26
    • D. Vehicles
      • 1. Identity 4.27
      • 2. Point of Rest 4.28
      • 3. Damage 4.29
      • 4. Mechanical Condition 4.30
    • E. Drivers; Passengers
      • 1. Possession of License 4.31
      • 2. Identity; Position in Vehicle 4.32
      • 3. Injuries 4.33
      • 4. Intoxication 4.34
    • F. Skid Marks; Debris 4.35
    • G. Traffic Controls 4.36
    • H. Weather 4.37
    • I. Visibility 4.38
    • J. Citations; Arrests 4.39
  • V. STATEMENTS OF PARTIES AND WITNESSES
    • A. Admissibility Under Hearsay Exceptions
      • 1. Potential Hearsay Exceptions for Statements in Accident Report 4.40
      • 2. Party's Admissions 4.41
      • 3. Adoptive Admissions 4.42
      • 4. Driver's Statement to Show Liability of Employer or Owner 4.43
      • 5. Spontaneous Statements 4.44
      • 6. Statements Reported by Qualified Law Enforcement Officer at Preliminary Hearing 4.45
    • B. Statements About Liability Insurance 4.46
    • C. Conviction; Plea of Guilty or Nolo Contendere 4.47
  • VI. OFFICER AS EXPERT
    • A. Potential Bases on Which Officer May Qualify as Expert 4.48
    • B. Deciding Whether to Use Officer as Expert 4.49
    • C. Special Qualifications 4.50
    • D. Attacking Qualifications 4.51
    • E. Subjects of Officer's Expert Testimony
      • 1. Point of Impact 4.52
      • 2. Vehicle's Mechanical Condition 4.53
      • 3. Loading of Truck 4.54
      • 4. Safe Speed for Conditions at Time of Accident 4.55
      • 5. Speed Before Accident 4.56
      • 6. Influence of Narcotics 4.57
  • VII. ELICITING UNFAVORABLE MATTER ON DIRECT EXAMINATION 4.58

5

Technical Experts

  • I. REASONS FOR USING TECHNICAL EXPERTS
    • A. Before and At Trial 5.1
    • B. Examples in Personal Injury Cases 5.2
  • II. IDENTIFYING TECHNICAL SPECIALTY AREAS; CHECKLISTS
    • A. Using Checklists as General Guides 5.3
    • B. Vehicle and Carrier Accidents 5.4
    • C. Slip and Fall Accidents 5.5
    • D. Premises; Buildings; Construction Sites 5.6
    • E. Chemicals; Foods; Drugs; Explosions 5.7
  • III. DESCRIPTIONS OF SPECIALTIES
    • A. Ceramic Engineers 5.8
    • B. Chemical Engineers 5.9
    • C. Chemists 5.10
    • D. Civil Engineers 5.11
    • E. Climatologists; Meteorologists 5.12
    • F. Electrical Engineers 5.13
    • G. Health Chemistry Engineers 5.14
    • H. Industrial Engineers 5.15
    • I. Mechanical Engineers 5.16
    • J. Metallurgical Engineers 5.17
    • K. Nonprofessional Experts 5.18
    • L. Pharmacologists 5.19
    • M. Physicists 5.20
    • N. Toxicologists 5.21
  • IV. CRITERIA FOR SELECTING EXPERT
    • A. Importance of Creativity in Selecting Expert 5.22
    • B. Knowledge of Subject 5.23
    • C. Credibility 5.24
    • D. Personality and Manner of Expression 5.25
    • E. Locality of Trial 5.26
    • F. Cost 5.27
    • G. Using More Than One Expert 5.28
  • V. LOCATING EXPERTS
    • A. Other Lawyers; Court Decisions 5.29
    • B. Universities 5.30
    • C. Books; Articles; Research Services 5.31
  • VI. PREPARING TO EXAMINE
    • A. When to Employ Expert; Discovery Considerations 5.32
    • B. Testing Expert's Hypothesis 5.33
    • C. Determining Form of Questions 5.34
  • VII. QUALIFICATIONS
    • A. Sufficiency
      • 1. To Permit Admission of Opinion Testimony 5.35
      • 2. To Gain Jurors' Confidence 5.36
    • B. Handling Offers to Concede Qualifications 5.37
    • C. Checklist: Expert's Particular Qualifications 5.38
    • D. Direct Examination of Expert on Qualifications
      • 1. Name; Address; Occupation 5.39
      • 2. Registration and Licenses 5.40
      • 3. Education and Degrees
        • a. Professionals 5.41
        • b. Nonprofessionals 5.42
      • 4. Present Employment
        • a. Professor 5.43
        • b. Officer of Research or Consulting Firm 5.44
        • c. Employee of Defendant Company 5.45
        • d. Nonprofessional 5.46
      • 5. Specialization
        • a. Professional 5.47
        • b. Nonprofessional 5.48
      • 6. Previous Employment 5.49
      • 7. Military Service 5.50
      • 8. Professional Societies 5.51
      • 9. Lecturing and Teaching 5.52
      • 10. Authorship 5.53
      • 11. Patents 5.54
      • 12. Consultation Experience in Other Cases 5.55
      • 13. Knowledge of Subject at Issue 5.56
  • VIII. ELICITING OPINION TESTIMONY
    • A. Admissibility 5.57
    • B. Showing Subject of Opinion 5.58
    • C. Stating Bases of Opinions
      • 1. Expert May and Sometimes Must State Bases of Opinions 5.59
      • 2. Facts in Evidence 5.60
      • 3. Expert's Perceptions; Tests; Analyses
        • a. Expert's Personal Perception and Tests 5.61
        • b. Distinguishing Expert Opinion and Scientific Evidence in Presenting Expert's Analyses
          • (1) California State Courts 5.62
          • (2) Federal Courts 5.63
      • 4. Expert's Special Qualifications 5.64
      • 5. Books; Treatises; Other Literature 5.65
      • 6. Community and Industry Standards 5.66
      • 7. Standards Set by Statute and Official Regulation 5.67
      • 8. Hearsay and Other Inadmissible Matter 5.68
    • D. Expressing Opinion 5.69
    • E. Stating Reasons for Opinion 5.70

6

Medical Experts

  • I. REASONS FOR CALLING MEDICAL EXPERTS 6.1
  • II. CATEGORIES OF MEDICAL EXPERTS; DISCLOSURE OF EXPERTS ON WITNESS LISTS 6.2
  • III. CONTENT AND SEQUENCE OF TESTIMONY 6.3
  • IV. EVIDENTIARY PRIVILEGES
    • A. Attorney-Client 6.4
    • B. Patient-Litigant Exception to Physician-Patient Privilege 6.5
  • V. QUALIFICATIONS
    • A. Experts' Qualifications Usually Are Shown 6.6
    • B. Sufficiency
      • 1. Licensed Doctors 6.7
      • 2. Nondoctors 6.8
    • C. Form of Questions
      • 1. Use of General Opening Questions 6.9
      • 2. Use of Specific Questions 6.10
    • D. Particular Items
      • 1. Need for Selectivity in Establishing Special Qualifications 6.11
      • 2. Name; Profession; Office Address 6.12
      • 3. License 6.13
      • 4. Education and Degrees 6.14
      • 5. Internship and Residency 6.15
      • 6. Military Service 6.16
      • 7. Private Practice: Entry; Duration 6.17
      • 8. Nature of Practice
        • a. Doctor in General Practice 6.18
        • b. Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery
          • (1) Preliminary Questions 6.19
          • (2) Training and Experience 6.20
          • (3) Board Certification 6.21
      • 9. Medical Society Memberships 6.22
      • 10. Teaching and Lecturing 6.23
      • 11. Hospital Staff Memberships 6.24
      • 12. Authorship 6.25
      • 13. Familiarity With Medical Literature 6.26
      • 14. Honors; Prizes; Special Recognition 6.27
  • VI. USING MEDICAL RECORDS, REPORTS, AND EXHIBITS
    • A. Types 6.28
    • B. Refreshing Memory 6.29
  • VII. OCCASION FOR SEEING PATIENT: PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP
    • A. Showing Professional Physician-Patient Relationship 6.30
    • B. Personal or Family Physician 6.31
    • C. Medical-Legal Examiner 6.32
  • VIII. PATIENT'S MEDICAL HISTORY
    • A. Rationale for Eliciting Medical History 6.33
    • B. Admissibility
      • 1. Hearsay Issue Raised 6.34
      • 2. Possible Admission Under Hearsay Rule Exceptions 6.35
      • 3. Admissible Solely to Show Basis of Opinion 6.36
    • C. Nature and Diagnostic Importance 6.37
    • D. Symptoms; Subjective Signs 6.38
    • E. Circumstances of Accident That Caused Injury 6.39
    • F. Preaccident History 6.40
  • IX. PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND FINDINGS
    • A. Testimony on Medical Facts Observed 6.41
    • B. Admissibility 6.42
    • C. Using Specific Questions 6.43
    • D. Character and Type of Examination 6.44
    • E. General Appearance and Mental Status 6.45
    • F. Explaining Medical Terms and Injuries 6.46
    • G. Connecting Findings to Injuries 6.47
    • H. Findings as Direct Evidence of Injuries 6.48
    • I. Clinical Tests and Manipulations 6.49
    • J. Absent and Negative Findings 6.50
    • K. Explaining Failure to Make Observation or Test 6.51
  • X. SPECIAL DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES
    • A. Commonly Used Special Diagnostic Procedures 6.52
    • B. Admissibility 6.53
    • C. Extent of Testimony 6.54
  • XI. REPORTS FROM OTHER EXAMINERS
    • A. Practice of Referring Patients to Other Doctors and Technicians 6.55
    • B. Determining Whether to Call Outside Consultant as Witness 6.56
    • C. Admissibility
      • 1. To Show Basis of Referring Doctor's Opinions 6.57
      • 2. Extent of Showing 6.58
    • D. Identity and Reliability of Tester or Examiner 6.59
    • E. Referral as Customary Medical Practice 6.60
    • F. Reasons for Test or Examination 6.61
    • G. Return and Identity of Results and Report
      • 1. Confirming Authenticity of Examination Results 6.62
      • 2. Witness's Reliance 6.63
    • H. Contents 6.64
  • XII. MEDICAL OPINION TESTIMONY
    • A. Admissibility 6.65
    • B. Bases for Medical Expert Opinion
      • 1. Proper Bases 6.66
      • 2. Improper Bases 6.67
      • 3. Procedures for Showing Bases and Reasons 6.68
      • 4. Diagnosis: Nature and Extent of Injuries
        • a. Nature and Extent of Injuries More Important Than "Capsule Diagnosis" 6.69
        • b. Admissibility 6.70
        • c. Relating Diagnoses to Injuries 6.71
    • C. Cause of Injuries
      • 1. Relationship of Medical Cause to Proximate Cause of Injury 6.72
      • 2. Value of Causation Testimony 6.73
      • 3. Admissibility 6.74
      • 4. Form of Testimony 6.75
    • D. Prognosis: Continuing, Permanent, and Future Injuries
      • 1. Prognosis as Starting Point for Testimony on Future Consequences of Injuries 6.76
      • 2. Admissibility 6.77
      • 3. Reasonable Medical Certainty 6.78
      • 4. Continuing Conditions; Permanency 6.79
      • 5. Future Conditions 6.80

7

Other Witnesses on Damages

  • I. LAY WITNESSES GENERALLY
    • A. Overall Role of Lay Witnesses 7.1
    • B. Bystanders at Accident Scene 7.2
    • C. Nurses; Medical Personnel 7.3
    • D. Family Members
      • 1. Suffering and Disability 7.4
      • 2. Nursing Services by Family Members 7.5
    • E. Fellow Workers; Supervisors 7.6
    • F. Acquaintances; Neighbors 7.7
  • II. EMPLOYER; PERSONNEL MANAGER 7.8
  • III. ECONOMISTS AND OTHERS WHO TESTIFY ON IMPAIRED EARNING CAPACITY
    • A. Use of Economists and Similar Experts at Trial 7.9
    • B. Basis of Testimony 7.10
    • C. Topics of Testimony 7.11
    • D. Checklist: Expert Qualifications 7.12

8

Handling Exhibits and Demonstrations

  • I. TERMINOLOGY: "EXHIBIT" AND "DEMONSTRATION" 8.1
  • II. VALUE AND USES OF EXHIBITS AND DEMONSTRATIONS 8.2
  • III. OFFERING EXHIBITS IN EVIDENCE
    • A. Summary of Steps in Offering Exhibits 8.3
      • 1. Checklist: Pretrial Preparation for Exhibits 8.3A
      • 2. Checklist: Offering Exhibits into Evidence 8.3B
    • B. Bringing Exhibits to Court; When to Use 8.4
    • C. Tracking Exhibits; Using Indexes and Duplicates 8.5
    • D. Custody of Exhibits and Release to Owner
      • 1. Transfer of Custody to Court Clerk 8.6
      • 2. Release of Exhibit 8.7
      • 3. Form: Stipulation and Order for Release of Exhibits 8.8
    • E. Inspection of Exhibit by Adverse Counsel 8.9
    • F. Marking Exhibit for Identification 8.10
    • G. Laying Foundation to Admit Exhibit
      • 1. Importance of Laying Foundation 8.11
      • 2. Relevance 8.12
      • 3. Authentication 8.13
      • 4. Secondary Evidence Exception 8.14
      • 5. Hearsay Exception 8.15
      • 6. Formal Offer of Exhibit in Evidence 8.16
    • H. Receiving and Marking in Evidence 8.17
    • I. Presenting Exhibit to Jury
      • 1. Passing to Jurors 8.18
      • 2. Explaining; Interpreting; Reading 8.19
      • 3. Using Viewing Aids 8.20
  • IV. SENDING EXHIBITS TO JURY ROOM 8.21
  • V. ADMISSION BY AGREEMENT
    • A. Advantage of Obtaining Agreement to Admit Exhibit 8.22
    • B. Written and Oral Stipulations
      • 1. Written Stipulations
        • a. Potential for Use 8.23
        • b. Form: Stipulation for Admission of Exhibits 8.24
      • 2. Oral Stipulations 8.25
    • C. Matter Deemed Admitted by Request for Admissions 8.26
    • D. Potential Pretrial Order on Exhibits 8.27
  • VI. WRITINGS AS PAST RECOLLECTION RECORDED
    • A. When Writings May Be Used Under Evid C §1237 8.28
    • B. Distinguished From Writings Used to Refresh Memory 8.29
    • C. Laying Foundation
      • 1. Summary of Required Preliminary Facts 8.30
      • 2. Witness's Writing 8.31
      • 3. Another Person's Writing
        • a. When Another Person's Writing May Be Used 8.32
        • b. Declarant's Testimony 8.33
        • c. Writer's Testimony 8.34
    • D. Reading Into Evidence 8.35
    • E. Adverse Parties' Rights 8.36
  • VII. USING THINGS NOT IN EVIDENCE TO HELP WITNESSES TESTIFY 8.37
  • VIII. VIEWING SCENES AND OBJECTS OUTSIDE COURTROOM
    • A. Authority of Trial Judge 8.38
    • B. Scenes and Objects Viewed as Evidence 8.39
    • C. Appointment of Person to Show Place to Jury 8.40
    • D. Motion for Jury View of Scene or Object 8.41
  • IX. DEMONSTRATIONS AND EXPERIMENTS
    • A. What Constitutes Demonstration or Experiment 8.42
    • B. Court Permission; Sample Dialogues for Demonstration 8.43

9

Police Accident Reports

  • I. VALUE OF REPORT TO CASE
    • A. Contents 9.1
    • B. Uses 9.2
  • II. OBTAINING REPORT
    • A. For Investigative Use
      • 1. Obtaining Report by Person With Proper Interest 9.3
      • 2. Special Rule for Reports of Prior Accidents Occurring at Same Location 9.4
    • B. For Use at Trial
      • 1. Use of Original Versus Copy of Report 9.5
      • 2. Subpoena Duces Tecum 9.6
  • III. ADMISSION OF REPORT AS EXHIBIT
    • A. Admissibility 9.7
    • B. By Stipulation 9.8
    • C. Objections to Admission
      • 1. Privilege 9.9
      • 2. Hearsay 9.10
      • 3. Authentication 9.11
      • 4. Secondary Evidence 9.12
    • D. Offering Report in Evidence 9.13
  • IV. USING REPORT TO SHOW PRIOR STATEMENT OF WITNESS
    • A. Prior Inconsistent Statement 9.14
    • B. Prior Consistent Statement 9.15
  • V. FORMS
    • A. Form: Attorney's Request and Declaration to Obtain Police Report 9.16
    • B. Form: Authorization for Attorney to Obtain Police Report 9.17
    • C. Form: Declaration for Subpoena Duces Tecum 9.18
    • D. Form: California Highway Patrol Vehicle Accident (Traffic Collision) Report 9.19

10

Discovery Documents

  • I. VALUE OF DISCOVERY 10.1
  • II. DEPOSITIONS
    • A. Deposition as Most Common Discovery Device 10.2
    • B. Uses at Trial
      • 1. To Refresh Memory
        • a. Deposition Transcript Must Be Produced at Trial 10.3
        • b. Refreshing Memory of Own Witness 10.4
        • c. Refreshing Memory of Adverse Witness 10.5
      • 2. To Show Prior Inconsistent Statement
        • a. By Own Witness 10.6
        • b. By Adverse Witness 10.7
      • 3. To Show Prior Consistent Statement
        • a. By Own Witness 10.8
        • b. By Adverse Witness 10.9
      • 4. As Past Recollection Recorded
        • a. Distinguished From Refreshing Memory 10.10
        • b. By Own Witness 10.11
        • c. By Adverse Witness 10.12
      • 5. As Substitute Testimony
        • a. Deposition Less Preferred Than Oral Testimony at Trial 10.13
        • b. When Witness Unavailable 10.14
        • c. In Interests of Justice 10.15
        • d. When Deposition Is of Adverse Party, Agent, or Witness 10.16
    • C. Objections to Admission 10.17
    • D. Substitution of Parties and Supplemental Proceedings 10.18
    • E. Presentation at Trial
      • 1. Reading Deposition Questions and Answers Into Court Record 10.19
      • 2. Presentation of Video-Recorded Depositions
        • a. Overall Uses at Trial 10.20
        • b. Procedural Matters Affecting Use at Trial 10.21
        • c. Seeking Agreement on Use of Deposition; Objections 10.22
    • F. Deposition Not Available to Jury During Deliberations 10.23
  • III. INTERROGATORIES
    • A. Overall Uses 10.24
    • B. Limitations on Use at Trial 10.25
  • IV. OTHER DISCOVERY DOCUMENTS
    • A. Requests for Admission 10.26
    • B. Demands for Production and Inspection and for Examination by Physician
      • 1. Demand for Production and Inspection 10.27
      • 2. Demand for Examination by Physician 10.28

11

Business Records

  • I. DEFINITION AND USES OF BUSINESS RECORDS; PRIVILEGE
    • A. Business Records Defined 11.1
    • B. Uses of Business Records at Trial 11.2
    • C. When Records Privileged or Otherwise Protected 11.3
  • II. ADMISSION IN EVIDENCE
    • A. By Agreement 11.4
    • B. By Laying Foundation
      • 1. Foundational Requirements Summarized 11.5
      • 2. Relevance 11.6
      • 3. Authentication 11.7
      • 4. Secondary Evidence 11.8
      • 5. Hearsay 11.9
    • C. By Subpoenaed Copy Delivered With Custodian's Affidavit
      • 1. Subpoena Duces Tecum Procedure Summarized 11.10
      • 2. Issuance and Service of Subpoena 11.11
      • 3. Supporting Declaration; Form
        • a. Supporting Declaration 11.12
        • b. Form: Declaration for Subpoena Duces Tecum 11.13
      • 4. Notice Describing Procedure for Compliance; Form
        • a. Notice Describing Procedure for Compliance 11.14
        • b. Form: Notice Describing Compliance With Subpoena Duces Tecum 11.15
      • 5. Custodian's Declaration; Form
        • a. Custodian's Declaration 11.16
        • b. Form: Declaration of Custodian of Records or Other Qualified Witness 11.17
      • 6. Opening Record and Offering Copy in Evidence 11.18
    • D. By Custodian's Testimony
      • 1. When Required 11.19
      • 2. Using Clause Requiring Custodian's Personal Attendance With Original Records 11.20
  • III. USING WAGE RECORD TO SHOW EARNINGS LOSS
    • A. Need for Wage Record 11.21
    • B. Identifying Witness 11.22
    • C. Identifying Record and Mode of Preparation 11.23
    • D. Record Made in Regular Course of Business 11.24
    • E. Time of Preparation At or Near Time of Act, Condition, or Event 11.25
    • F. Trustworthiness 11.26
    • G. Content of Record 11.27

12

Official Records

  • I. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. Statutory Requirements for Admission 12.1
    • B. By Agreement 12.2
    • C. By Custodian's Affidavit as Business Record 12.3
    • D. By Judicial Notice and Independent Evidence of Trustworthiness 12.4
    • E. By Foundational Testimony 12.5
  • II. PARTICULAR RECORDS
    • A. Laying Foundation for Plaintiff's Public School Records 12.6
    • B. Vital Statistics 12.7
    • C. Findings of Presumed Death; Missing Person Records 12.8
  • III. ABSENCE OF PUBLIC RECORD 12.9

13

Hospital and Medical Records

  • I. USES AT TRIAL 13.1
  • II. CONTENTS 13.2
  • III. OBTAINING COPY OF CLIENT'S RECORD BEFORE SUIT
    • A. Right to Seek Record Before Filing Action 13.3
    • B. Form: Letter Requesting Medical Records 13.4
    • C. Form: Authorization for Release of Medical Records 13.5
  • IV. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. Two-Step Process in Determining Admissibility; Exemptions 13.6
    • B. Foundational Requirements
      • 1. Relevance 13.7
      • 2. Authentication 13.8
      • 3. Admissible Secondary Evidence 13.9
      • 4. Hearsay 13.10
      • 5. Physician-Patient Privilege 13.11
    • C. Covering and Deleting Objectionable Items and Entries 13.12
  • V. PROCEDURES FOR SECURING ADMISSION AS EXHIBIT
    • A. Stipulation 13.13
    • B. Obtaining Record by Subpoena Duces Tecum and Offering Record in Evidence
      • 1. Subpoena Duces Tecum to Records Custodian; Form
        • a. Subpoena Duces Tecum to Records Custodian 13.14
        • b. Form: Attorney's Supporting Declaration for Subpoena Duces Tecum 13.15
      • 2. Encouraging Delivery of Copy 13.16
      • 3. Offering Records in Evidence 13.17
    • C. Personal Attendance of Custodian With Original Records 13.18
    • D. Foundational Testimony 13.19
  • VI. PARTICULAR ENTRIES: ADMISSIBILITY; INTERPRETATION
    • A. Role of Medical Witness's Testimony in Explaining Entries 13.20
    • B. Various Locations and Types of Entries Within Records
      • 1. Cover Sheet
        • a. Data and Diagnostic Summary 13.21
        • b. Personal Data 13.22
        • c. Insurance Coverage 13.23
      • 2. Narrative or Final Summary 13.24
      • 3. Medical History 13.25
      • 4. Circumstances of Accident That Produced Injury 13.26
      • 5. Patient's Past History and Family History 13.27
      • 6. Physical Examination Reports 13.28
      • 7. Vital Signs Chart 13.29
      • 8. Laboratory and Electrographic Reports 13.30
      • 9. Operation Report 13.31
      • 10. Doctors' Orders; Medication Sheet 13.32
      • 11. Doctors' Progress Notes 13.33
      • 12. Nurses' Notes 13.34
      • 13. Medical Opinions
        • a. Varied Location Within Records; Admission Issues 13.35
        • b. Diagnosis 13.36
        • c. Causation 13.37
        • d. Prognosis 13.38
      • 14. X-Ray Films and Reports 13.39
      • 15. Letters and Other Extraneous Matter 13.40
  • VII. USING RECORD TO SHOW BASIS FOR OPINION TESTIMONY 13.41
  • VIII. USING RECORD TO IMPEACH
    • A. Prior Inconsistent Statement
      • 1. Patient's Statements That Conflict With Trial Testimony 13.42
      • 2. Confronting Witness 13.43
      • 3. Forgotten Statement 13.44
      • 4. Statement of Preaccident Health 13.45
      • 5. Absence of Complaints 13.46
    • B. Confronting Adverse Expert With Contradictory Matter 13.47

14

Medical Bills

  • I. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS 14.1
  • II. ADMISSIBILITY IN EVIDENCE
    • A. Bases for Admission Summarized 14.2
    • B. By Agreement 14.3
    • C. By Foundational Testimony
      • 1. Identifying Bills; Plaintiff's Testimony 14.4
      • 2. Necessity of Treatment 14.5
      • 3. Reasonableness of Charges
        • a. Means of Showing Charges Were Reasonable 14.6
        • b. Billing Doctor 14.7
        • c. Other Doctor or Witness Familiar With Customary or Standard Medical Charges 14.8
  • III. SHOWING PAYMENT; COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE
    • A. Application of Collateral Source Rule to Testimony 14.9
    • B. Plaintiff's Testimony That Bills Were Paid 14.10
    • C. Defendant's Testimony That Bills Were Paid by Defendant or Related Source 14.11
    • D. When Payment by Workers' Compensation Carrier May Be Shown 14.12
  • IV. REDACTING OR DELETING NOTATIONS OF PAYMENT 14.13

15

Photographs

  • I. VALUE AS EVIDENCE 15.1
  • II. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. Treatment of Photograph as Writing 15.2
    • B. By Agreement 15.3
    • C. By Authentication
      • 1. Level of Authenticity Required; Relating Photograph to Physical Scene Involved 15.4
      • 2. Qualifying Authenticating Witness
        • a. Nonphotographers 15.5
        • b. Professional Photographers 15.6
        • c. Amateur Photographers 15.7
      • 3. Authenticating Particular Photographs
        • a. Accident Scene 15.8
        • b. Changed Scene 15.9
        • c. Accident Reconstructions 15.10
        • d. Damaged Vehicles 15.11
        • e. Injured Persons 15.12
    • D. Objections to Admission
      • 1. Objections Summarized 15.13
      • 2. Prejudicial; Unduly Inflammatory 15.14
      • 3. Misrepresentative or Misleading; Credibility Versus Admissibility 15.15
      • 4. Cumulative 15.16
      • 5. Irrelevant 15.17
  • III. PRESENTING TO JURY
    • A. Prints; Enlargements 15.18
    • B. Transparencies and Digital Photographs 15.19

16

X-Ray Films

  • I. VALUE AS EVIDENCE 16.1
  • II. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. By Agreement 16.2
    • B. By Authentication 16.3
      • 1. Laying Foundation
        • a. Identity of Patient; Date Film Taken 16.4
        • b. Interpretation 16.5
        • c. Nature and Validity of X-Ray Process 16.6
        • d. Filmmaking Procedure 16.7
        • e. Dependability of Equipment 16.8
      • 2. Choosing Authenticating Witness
        • a. Using Doctor Who Explains X-Ray as Authenticating Witness 16.9
        • b. Doctor Who Made Films 16.10
        • c. X-Ray Technician 16.11
        • d. Doctor Who Ordered Films 16.12
      • 3. Authenticating Particular X-Ray Films
        • a. Films of Normal Person 16.13
        • b. Soft-Tissue Injuries 16.14
    • C. As Aid to Testimony 16.15
    • D. X-Ray Report 16.16
    • E. Films in Hospital Records 16.17
  • III. PRESENTING TO JURY
    • A. Viewing Box 16.18
    • B. Stereoscopic Films 16.19
    • C. Positive Prints and Enlargements 16.20
    • D. Cineradiography 16.21
  • IV. SENDING FILMS TO JURY ROOM 16.22

17

Audiovisual Recordings and Computer-Generated Presentations

  • I. WIDE RANGE OF POTENTIAL AUDIOVISUAL PRESENTATIONS 17.1
  • II. VALUE AS EVIDENCE
    • A. Visual Impact 17.2
    • B. Common Uses of Motion Picture and Other Audiovisual Presentations; Computer-Generated Images
      • 1. Uses Summarized 17.3
      • 2. Computer Animation 17.3A
      • 3. Computer Simulations 17.3B
  • III. DANGERS 17.4
  • IV. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. Court's Discretion in Admitting Audiovisual Evidence 17.5
    • B. Relevance 17.6
    • C. Authentication
      • 1. Need for Authentication 17.7
      • 2. Qualifying Authenticating Witness
        • a. Persons Who Can Authenticate 17.8
        • b. Professional Cinematographer or Videographer 17.9
        • c. Amateur Cinematographer or Videographer 17.10
      • 3. Equipment and Lighting 17.11
      • 4. Developing and Printing 17.12
      • 5. Editing 17.13
      • 6. Chain of Custody 17.14
      • 7. Projection 17.15
      • 8. Accuracy 17.16
    • D. Challenging Authentication 17.17
  • V. PARTICULAR MOTION PICTURES OR OTHER VIDEOS
    • A. Surveillance
      • 1. Use and Context of Surveillance 17.18
      • 2. Authentication 17.19
      • 3. Cross-Examination 17.20
      • 4. Seeking Contradictory Testimony From Plaintiff Before Showing Film or Other Video Recording 17.21
      • 5. Rehabilitation 17.22
    • B. Reenactment of Event 17.23
    • C. Experiments and Computer Simulations 17.24
    • D. Normal Activity Before Injury 17.25
    • E. Activity After Injury 17.26
  • VI. PRESENTING TO JURY
    • A. Equipment and Facilities in Courtroom 17.27
    • B. Strategy 17.28
  • VII. SENDING FILMS OR OTHER VIDEO MATTER TO JURY ROOM 17.29

18

Models

  • I. VALUE AS EVIDENCE 18.1
  • II. DANGERS OF USING MODELS 18.2
  • III. SCALE MODELS
    • A. Benefits of Scale Models 18.3
    • B. Admissibility 18.4
    • C. Authentication
      • 1. Need for Authentication 18.5
      • 2. Authentication by Model Maker 18.6
      • 3. Authentication by Expert 18.7
  • IV. NONSCALE MODELS
    • A. Benefits of Nonscale Models 18.8
    • B. Admissibility 18.9
    • C. Authentication
      • 1. For Admission in Evidence 18.10
      • 2. For Illustration 18.11
  • V. SKELETONS 18.12
  • VI. DUPLICATES 18.13
  • VII. PRESENTING TO JURY 18.14
  • VIII. SENDING MODELS TO JURY ROOM 18.15

19

Maps and Diagrams

  • I. KINDS; SOURCES
    • A. Accident Scenes
      • 1. Use of Maps and Diagrams 19.1
      • 2. Stock Maps 19.2
      • 3. Custom-Made Diagrams 19.3
      • 4. Aerial Photographs 19.4
      • 5. Police Accident Report Diagrams 19.5
      • 6. Other Sources 19.6
    • B. Medical Drawings 19.7
  • II. ADMISSIBILITY
    • A. Requirements
      • 1. Authentication 19.8
      • 2. Relevance; Changes in Scene 19.9
    • B. By Agreement 19.10
    • C. Foundation for Custom-Made Accident Scene Diagram
      • 1. Qualifying Mapmaker 19.11
      • 2. Identifying Diagram 19.12
      • 3. Source of Data; Scale; Accuracy 19.13
      • 4. Reconstruction of Conditions 19.14
    • D. Judicial Notice of Official Maps 19.15
    • E. To Aid or Illustrate Testimony 19.16
  • III. PRESENTING TO JURY 19.17
  • IV. USE BY WITNESSES
    • A. Using Prepared Accident Scene Diagram 19.18
    • B. Preparing Diagram During Testimony 19.19

20

Judicial Notice

  • I. VALUE OF JUDICIAL NOTICE TO CASE
    • A. Advantages and Disadvantages of Requesting Judicial Notice 20.1
    • B. Evaluating Case Precedent 20.2
  • II. MATTER NOTICED
    • A. Mandatory and Permissive Notice
      • 1. Mandatory 20.3
      • 2. Permissive 20.4
      • 3. Permissive Notice Made Mandatory 20.5
    • B. Decisional Law as Authority
      • 1. Matters Outside Evid C §§451—452 20.6
      • 2. Matters Within Evid C §§451—452 20.7
    • C. Matters of Law
      • 1. Federal and State Law 20.8
      • 2. Foreign Law 20.9
    • D. Word Meanings 20.10
    • E. Facts and Propositions 20.11
  • III. PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN NOTICE
    • A. Necessity of Making Request 20.12
    • B. When to Make Request
      • 1. On Demurrer
        • a. Judicial Notice of Matter That Renders Complaint Defective 20.13
        • b. Form: Sample Request to Take Judicial Notice 20.14
      • 2. To Support Motion Before Trial 20.15
      • 3. During Pretrial Proceedings 20.16
      • 4. At Commencement of Trial 20.17
      • 5. In Open Court 20.18
      • 6. When Presenting Jury Instructions 20.19
      • 7. After Trial 20.20
    • C. Notifying Parties
      • 1. Mandatory Versus Discretionary Notice to Parties; Sufficiency of Notice 20.21
      • 2. Informal Oral or Written Notice 20.22
      • 3. In Pleadings 20.23
      • 4. By Notice of Motion 20.24
    • D. Providing Opportunity to Be Heard 20.25
    • E. Furnishing Information to Judge
      • 1. Information From Parties or Other Sources 20.26
      • 2. General Reference Books and Services 20.27
      • 3. Books Published by Public Authority 20.28
      • 4. Dictionaries 20.29
      • 5. Maps; Atlases; Gazetteers 20.30
      • 6. Calendars; Almanacs 20.31
      • 7. Case Reports
        • a. Published in Jurisdiction 20.32
        • b. Unofficial Reports; Advance Sheets 20.33
      • 8. Statutes; Ordinances 20.34
      • 9. Rules; Regulations; Orders
        • a. California and Federal Sources 20.35
        • b. California Code of Regulations 20.36
        • c. Federal Register 20.37
      • 10. Miscellaneous Official Acts 20.38
      • 11. Court Files and Records 20.39
      • 12. Rules of Court 20.40
      • 13. Mortality Tables 20.41
      • 14. Government Documents and Their Depositories 20.42
      • 15. Legislative History 20.43
      • 16. Weather Bureau Reports 20.44
      • 17. Census Statistics 20.45
      • 18. Cost-of-Living Indexes 20.46
      • 19. Expert Testimony 20.47
    • F. Informing Jury of Matter Noticed 20.48

Selected Developments

May 2017

A summary of the developments since publication of the 2016 update follows.

Social Media Evidence

New §3.7A discusses social media evidence and provides commentary on how to prepare for discovery and use of social media evidence in personal injury litigation.

Event Data Recorder (EDR) Evidence

See the new Practice Tip in §3.13 on how to handle event data recorder (EDR) evidence. EDRs are available in many motor vehicles on the road today. The Practice Tip includes a checklist of steps to follow when seeking to access EDR data to avoid spoliation of evidence claims.

Wearable Technology Evidence

See §3.19 for a new Practice Tip that discusses evidence garnered from wearable technology.

Expert Testimony

The recent case of People v Landrau (2016) 246 CA4th 850, cited in §4.52, is a reminder that although an expert may use a party's medical records to form an opinion about that party's medical condition, the expert may not testify as to what he saw in those records as a way to get that information admitted into evidence.

Kelly Test

In People v Garlinger (2016) 247 CA4th 1185, the appellate court held that Kelly is not applicable to new devices, such as cell phones, that implement already established scientific methods. See §5.62.

Excessive Force

Two recent cases on excessive force are discussed in §7.1. In People v Brown (2016) 245 CA4th 140, the court summarized civil cases that held expert testimony is not required to support a finding of excessive force, while in People v Sibrian (2016) 3 CA5th 127, the court held that allowing expert testimony on excessive force when necessary is not an abuse of discretion.

Handling Exhibits

See new §§8.3A—8.3B for two checklists, one on pretrial preparation for exhibits and another on offering exhibits into evidence.

About the Author

Frank M. Pitre is a partner with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, in Burlingame. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco in 1977 and his J.D. degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1981. Mr. Pitre is a nationally recognized personal injury attorney and is certified as a civil trial advocacy specialist by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates (Secretary, San Francisco Chapter, 2013), the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Mr. Pitre is the author of numerous articles on tort matters and, since 1998, has authored the annual supplement to this publication. He has served on the faculty of the Hastings College of Advocacy and the University of San Francisco Trial Advocacy Program; he also has served as co-chair and presenter at several Masters in Trial programs sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates Foundation.

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PRACTICE AREA Civil Litigation & Torts
PRACTICE AREA Public Law
PRODUCT GROUP Publication