If you’re planning on filing a lawsuit, you probably have what you believe to be evidence that you were wronged in some regard. Understanding evidence, however, does take some real legal knowledge. In fact, you may find that, upon meeting with your attorney, they don’t really believe that the things you consider to be evidence are actually evidence at all. At the very least, you may find that some of what you believe to be evidence is not actually admissible in court.
Hearsay is a word that people generally understand, but they may not understand what it means specifically from a legal viewpoint. As this article in How Stuff Works points out, hearsay can be thought of as he said she said evidence. It essentially means that secondary evidence cannot be used in court to establish a fact. Here’s an easy way to understand this that the article points out.
If you fell in a store and sustained an injury and were filing a slip and fall lawsuit, you might end up telling one of your friends about it. What you tell your friend cannot be brought into court as evidence. It would be considered secondhand evidence and is not admissible. It’s important to remember this before you spend a lot of time trying to get friends to back you up in court when it really isn’t going to do any good.
Doesn’t Prove Anything
When people get emotional, they may start thinking of reasons why the jury should believe that whoever wronged them was a genuinely bad person. They may try to engage in some sort of an ad hominem attack to destroy the defendant’s credibility. There are cases where the defendant’s credibility will be an issue, but the evidence has to be relevant to the case. For example, if the owner of the aforementioned store happened to have a record of domestic abuse, that would in no way establish that they were somehow negligent in not adequately flagging a hazard.
The best way to figure out whether evidence you have will be useful in court or not is to simply speak with your lawyer. You may be disappointed to find out that some of the evidence you have collected really isn’t admissible, but that doesn’t mean your lawyer will want to know about it. Even though it won’t be admissible in court, the lawyer may still be able to use it to figure out where to investigate further into your claim.