Here are the top three legal concepts criminal lawyers new to civil practice must understand. Criminal defense lawyers make excellent personal injury lawyers. Jerry Spence started practicing law as a prosecutor, and later became a criminal defense lawyer. The main reason is that criminal lawyers are already great litigators. You already know how to question an adverse witness and try a case in front of a jury. However, the transition between the two areas of law can seem daunting. The three issues that criminal defense lawyers new to personal injury law must know are:
1. The relevance standard for discovery in a civil case is reasonably calculated, to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This standard allows for the search of evidence which may be relevant at trial. See Norton v. Superior Court (1994), 24 Cal.App.4th 1750.
2. The burden of proof is different in a civil case, especially with injury causation. Espinosa v. Little Co. of Mary Hospital (1995) is an excellent case that quickly gets criminal lawyers up to speed on the new standards of proof they will be working with. Espinosa explains that it is only necessary for a plaintiff to demonstrate that the negligence of the defendant was a substantial factor in causing the claimed injury.
3. Criminal lawyers already work with expert witnesses, however, on the civil side, the expert disclosure requirements are different. Schreiber v. Estate of Kiser (1999) explains the differences between a retained and non-retained expert witness and how that impacts the requirements of the expert witness disclosure statute, C.C.P. section 2034.210 et seq.
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For more information on how to sign up and settle your first personal injury case, check us out at http://signuptosettlement.com/bootcamp.