El Paso Personal Injury Lawyers » “Objection!” Rather, How Objections Work
How objections work in a personal injury trial
Non-lawyers have a particularly negative impression of objections and the rules of evidence in general. Many people feel that these are just legal maneuvers that prevent the truth to be brought out in court. The truth is objections are the way that the legal system keeps everything fair, it prevents individuals from saying things that they have heard other people say, and allows for only the facts of the case to be presented. The attorneys at Our Law Offices are well versed in trial procedure, we know how and when to use the appropriate objection, and can make sure that your case is not brought down by inaccurate testimony and half-truths presented by the opposing counsel. We can assist you in your El Paso area personal injury action.
When can parties object?
Unlike many popular TV legal dramas, most cases do not go to court. There are many steps that occur before a trial and many of which the attorneys can object upon. Trial is always the last step of the legal process. Before individuals go to trial, their attorneys conduct pre-trial discovery, and often conduct pre-trial depositions. These are the legal proceedings where objections often occur.
All cases have pre-trial discovery that occurs. This is used to allow both sides to become aware of the facts of the case as well as to allow both sides access to information that they may not otherwise be able to get. An example of this would be if an individual is injury by a defective product, the defendant (product manufacturer) could get access to the injured party’s medical records in regards to the medical treatment he received that arose from the injury that he is claiming, and the injured party (plaintiff) could get access to information about the product and what makes it particularly dangerous.
Pre-trial discovery consists of interrogatories, request for production, request for admissions, and requests for disclosure. The only form of discovery that does not allow objections is a request for disclosure. Interrogatories are basically written testimony, the lawyer drafts a question and you will answer it just like you would if you were on the witness stand, these answers are under oath. Request for admissions also ask questions to the other party, these are a set of true false questions that you are also answer under oath as true or false. Requests for production is the request for information, depending on the type of case you may have, these can range from emails, medical records, accident reports, memos, or any other non-privileged, relevant document.
Most common objections in Pre-Trial discovery:
Common objections that occur in pre-trial discovery are that the information sought is irrelevant. Many times opposing counsel will try to seek information that is not relevant to the case, this information will be used to try to paint you in a negative light.
an objection based on privileged information is used to protect the client from revealing information that is not admissible based on privilege. The most common privilege asserted in civil cases is attorney-client privilege, which is information that was discussed between the client and the attorney, such as trial strategies.
Attorneys request extremely specific information from time to time. This information may be difficult to obtain and the level of difficulty or amount of time used to obtain the information will outweigh any potential benefit that the other party may get by obtaining the information.
Objections in Depositions:
Depositions are another form of pre-trial discovery. Depositions are open testimony that is asked in a non-court setting. These are generally used to get as much information as possible from the witness, so as to focus on the most relevant testimony in trial testimony. Depositions can last several hours and the objections that may be used are limited. Proper objections for deposition testimony are objections asserting privilege a privilege over the answer to the question. Other objections that are used are objections for form, which requires that all testimony that is sought must be asked in the form of a question. The last form of deposition objection is harassment; this is only used if the attorney conducting the deposition is acting in manner that is unduly harassing the witness.
Most Common Objections at Trial:
Objections in trials are vast, all the rules of evidence come into play in a trial setting and it is often a complex manner to determine what question is objectionable and what is not. The most common objections at trial are:
Hearsay is a statement made out of court offered in testimony to prove the truth of the matter asserted. An example of hearsay testimony would be if person A observed a car accident and walked down the street and told person B, “The red car ran a red light.” If person B did not see the accident and testifies based on what person A told him, this would constitute hearsay.
Leading occurs when an attorney asks a question on direct that suggest an answer. Leading is allowed on cross. An example of leading would be if an attorney asks one of their witnesses “you saw person A at the scene of the accident, didn’t you?”
Much like in pre-trial discovery, an attorneys question must be relevant to the issue at hand. Attorneys may be allowed a little lead way to make their point, but the ultimate point must be within the scope of the issue.
Objections and the entire trial process are complex matters; people who attempt to bring their claims before a court without an attorney are at a clear disadvantage even if the facts support their case. Knowing how to present evidence and how and when to make objections is imperative to the outcome over your case. The attorneys at Ou rLaw Offices are true litigators; we have substantial experience in and out of the court room and can make sure that your rights are protected. If you have been injured in El Paso or in any other area, call to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you will be glad you did.f