Watch What You Say...

Ordinarily, for purposes of testimony and evidence, an out of court statement which is being introduced at trial to prove the truth of the matter being asserted is not admissible in evidence because it is "hearsay." One of the reasons this is so is because there is no opportunity to verify that what is alleged to have been said, actually was said. That is, the lawyers do not have the opportunity to examine or cross-examine a person who allegedly said something if he or she is not there in court.

There are a number of exceptions to this general rule, however, so it is important to be careful what you say. In the personal injury context, imagine a car accident, often people are emotional at the scene of the crash or are flustered or angry—for obvious reasons. One of the exceptions to the hearsay rule is party admissions. By way of example, a plaintiff may testify about what a defendant said at the scene of a crash, assuming that testimony is relevant.So, if a defendant gets out of the car and says, "I'm so sorry, I didn't see you. I was texting my girlfriend" that testimony is admissible if liability is disputed.Similarly, if a plaintiff said, "I'm sorry, I've had a lot to drink and I shouldn't have been going so fast" that testimony would likely be admissible. Therefore, it is important to try to remain as calm as possible, and say nothing that you would not want repeated in court. This is easier said than done, but it is good advice to be polite and brief, and never say anything you wouldn't want the other party to tell a jury about if you end up in court.

For more information about the steps you can take after and accident and injury, contact a Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.