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Can Opinion Come In Under the Business-Records Exception?

Here’s a common evidence question: Are opinions admissible when they’re in business records? The answer is generally “yes,” as long as the statement of opinion is in a writing that qualifies otherwise for the business-records exception to the hearsay rule. Continue reading

Establishing Credibility in Plaintiff’s Opening Statement

In a personal injury case, plaintiff’s counsel should approach the opening statement to the jury with one primary goal: establishing credibility. If the jury believes you, it will be much more likely to rule for your client. Here’s a sample opening statement that shows how you can get right out of the gate with credibility. Continue reading

Using the “Black Box” in a Car Accident Case

One of the key parts of liability testimony in a car accident case is the chronology of the accident: the parties’ conduct before the impact, the impact, and conditions after impact. The parties are most likely to dispute the first part, making the car’s “black box” a potentially helpful source of evidence (but with its own pitfalls). Continue reading

Checklist: What to Include in a Government Claim

Under California’s Government Claims Act (Govt C §§810–996.6), you can’t sue a public entity or its employees until after you’ve presented the entity with a claim for “money or damages.” Here’s a handy checklist of the essential elements to include in a claim. Continue reading

Settling a Car Accident Case: Drafting Your Demand

ThinkstockPhotos-84461514You’re representing someone injured in a car accident and you’ve reached the point at which you’re ready to send a demand letter to communicate a settlement offer to the defendant’s insurance carrier. But what should that letter include? To get you started, here are some sample provisions to include in your letter as well as drafting suggestions. Continue reading

Deposing the Doctor: Why Do It and How Much Will It Cost?

ThinkstockPhotos-79085832In cases in which there are medical issues, you’ll need to decide whether to depose the treating physician. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you make this call. Continue reading

Combating Comparative Fault for an Unhelmeted Cyclist

The following is a guest blog post by Michelle Weiss, an attorney with Bay Area Bicycle Law, the only firm in Northern California that exclusively represents cyclists.

A bill introduced earlier this year mandating helmet use for California adults (SB-192) was scaled back following opposition from bike organizations statewide. So for the time being at least, helmet use remains optional for adult cyclists in California. This means the issue of whether plaintiffs are contributorily negligent for not wearing a bicycle helmet remains a legal gray area. Continue reading

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