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Welcome to Vegas Lawyer. This site is for people who were hurt in Nevada. Contact us for a free consultation. You may want to read the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law introduction on our home page. Also, you can get an overview of other claims like Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, and Products Liability before you explore the Article below.

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Evidence Rulings

The presentation of evidence is subject to rules that are designed to ensure that only reliable and relevant evidence is admitted. Sometimes, the rules even exclude reliable and relevant evidence in order to protect other important interests. For example, a plaintiff’s lawyer is not allowed to introduce evidence that the defendant made repairs after the plaintiff’s injury. The courts made this rule so that people will not be discouraged from repairing dangerous conditions. Thus, a lawyer for a plaintiff who slipped on a wet sidewalk cannot show the jury that the defendant put up a caution sign after the plaintiff fell. The act of putting up the sign could be interpreted as an admission that the sign should have been there at the time of the plaintiff’s accident and that the defendant had a duty to warn the plaintiff of the hazard. Without the rule, putting up a sign to prevent more injuries could actually damage the defendant’s case.

Another evidence rule prohibits the use of unreliable testimony, called hearsay. For example, if John Smith testified that Bill Jones told him he saw Frank Williams run the stop sign, and Bill Jones was not available as a witness, the testimony would usually be inadmissible as evidence to prove that Frank Williams did run the stop sign. The courts have decided that hearsay is not usually reliable and, therefore, should not be used as evidence in a trial.

Sometimes a lawyer will break one of these rules of evidence, either accidentally or on purpose, and will try to present evidence to the jury that it shouldn’t hear. If a lawyer believes that testimony an opposing lawyer asked a witness for is improper, the lawyer may object to it and may ask the judge to instruct the witness not to answer the question. If the witness has already answered, the lawyer may still object and ask the judge to tell the jury to disregard what the witness said. The judge can either sustain the objection and do as the objecting lawyer requests, or overrule it and permit the testimony. When an objection is made, the judge alone decides whether the testimony is admissible.

Occasionally, the judge and the lawyers for both sides have a conference at the bench (called a sidebar) out of the jury’s hearing but with the court reporter present to record what they say. At other times, they might confer in the judge’s chambers, or office. Often, they are discussing whether a certain piece of evidence is admissible. The court doesn’t want the jurors to hear such a discussion because they might hear something that can’t be admitted into evidence and that might prejudice them in favor of one side or the other.

This information came from an
FJC online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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DEMPSEY, ROBERTS & SMITH, LTD.
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