Personal Injury Cases: Three Key Evidentiary Scenarios


As you gear up for trial, you will need to organize the documents that your client needs to support her claims.  This list should give you a beginning guideline when you’re compiling documents:

  • Medical Bills. While the bills themselves are certainly necessary, keep in mind that, as you gather documents, you’ll want to have a qualified billing expert and a medical doctor to enforce the evidence.  These professionals should be able to testify to the fact that the medical charges were reasonable to necessitate the diagnosis of the plaintiff’s condition or help that person recover.  One case to be mindful of in terms of payments of claims is Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc whereby by the court acknowledged that health insurance companies pay discounted amounts.  In this case, the court held that only these discounted amounts can be collected in a personal injury case.
  • Loss of Wages.  In order to bring your client’s loss of wages into evidence, you’ll need to prove that the amount of time taken off work was reasonable, given the injury that was sustained by the defendant’s negligence.  It is imperative that you work with your medical experts to ensure that your plaintiff’s injury is well-represented in terms of treatment and recovery time.  For example, if your client stands for long periods of time, the proof necessary to substantiate reasonable time off work will likely be significantly different from someone who does heavy lifting as a regular part of his or her job.
  • Police Reports.  If you’re planning to offer a police report into evidence, you should consider Fernandez v. Di Salvo Appliance Co.and Summers v. Burdick which discuss police report admissibility at trial.  It is very important that you understand what portions of a police report are admissible into evidence at trial before you attempt to substantiate your claims with evidence that could ultimately be determined inadmissible at trial.

If you’d like to learn more tips regarding successful personal injury trials, sign up to be one of the first to know when we launch our new course, Signup to Settlement: Personal Injury Law Bootcamp.


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In his 20 years of law practice, Al has handled more than 40 jury trials. This experience, combined with a commitment to ethics and integrity, has earned Al an excellent reputation throughout the San Francisco Bay Area legal community. He is the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell‘s “AV” peer rating, which signifies preeminent legal ability and ethical standards, and has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2006. In 2009, Al was awarded the prestigious 2009 Civil Justice Award by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, given to attorneys who show integrity, grit, tenacity, ethics, and great advocacy skills, and who contribute to the betterment of consumers and/or injured victims and their families.

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