A Washington Civil Lawyer | Attorney’s Prospective Why are Rules of Evidence Important?
As attorneys | lawyers we listen carefully and critically to what is being said, explain What Should Be Done About Being Hurt, weigh whether a Civil Case is Worth Pursuing, help them decide whether They Should Sue, what is the Statute of Limitations on the case and perhaps most importantly, we weigh what evidence and testimony will make it into court based on the Rules of Evidence. This last step is crucial to considering whether it makes sense to pursue litigation because it helps clients understand what their “case” will really look like in a courtroom and in some cases, the Rules of Evidence can made the difference between a great case and no case at all.
The Rules of Evidence
In any case filed in any court, be it in Washington State Court or Federal Court, the decision of what can be said or shown in a courtroom is based on whether the Rules of Evidence will allow that evidence or testimony in. The Rules of Evidence are designed, in theory, to assure that only evidence that the court and legal system deems relevant, reliable and appropriate gets into court. Washington State has its own Rules of Evidence as do the Federal Courts and though they are not exactly the same, they are quite similar. The same is true for all federal and state courts in the United States (with some exceptions in administrative and some civil matters like protection order hearings).
In theory, the Rules of Evidence are designed to keep litigation fair and factor in things like, what evidence is relevant, what can experts reliably testify about, when can someone testify in court as to what someone else said (Hearsay Evidence), when can someone testify as to another person’s character … the list goes on and its comprehensive. In order to get an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted into court, absent some very narrowly tailored circumstances, it must pass the Rules of Evidence and this is why these rules are so important.
Although the rules of evidence are designed to assure things are fair in court, their application can prevent some aspects of a story from being told and therefore negatively affect a case because the “story” is changed. We have seen cases fail because The Rules of Evidence will not allow in key testimony because it has been deemed unreliable, or, change a story such that it no longer makes sense or no longer is as convincing as one first thought. As such, it is essential that your lawyer | attorney understands these Rules of Evidence and have hands-on experience in applying them to cases. Part of what makes the lawyers in our Washington firm unique is we have an enormous amount of experience applying these Rules of Evidence, in court and are savvy as to their application.
So remember, in any negotiation about money, about a potential suit, about someone getting hurt, or whether a fraud happened, part of what you use a lawyer for is to factor in what testimony and evidence the rules of evidence will allow in.
The civil lawyers | attorneys in our office have handled a wide variety of complicated cases in Washington and in Federal Court over the course of our lengthy legal careers. Our firm is a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, temperament and nature. Our lawyers know cases are rarely simple and our clients hire us because they want their lawyers | attorneys who serve their interests first, enjoy a good fight are goal oriented and like to win. We are a firm of staunch, uncompromising and effective counsel. As lawyers and people, we take the time to go the extra yard in a fight. Whether acting in our role as counsel, advocate, negotiator or litigator, we have years of experience working and fighting to resolve cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.
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