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Litigation and hearsay exceptions

There are many trial rules and rules of evidence that must be adhered to in order to successfully litigate a case. Those who fail to abide by these rules can see their evidence given less weight, their evidence excluded or even their claims dismissed.

Those who are about to engage in litigation need to ensure that they have a full understanding of these rules and how to use them to their advantage. For many Ohioans, this often means seeking the assistance of a skilled litigation professional.

One of the most commonly fought over rules of evidence are those pertaining to hearsay. Hearsay is an out of court statement made by a witness offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Although hearsay is generally inadmissible at trial, there are a number of exceptions to the rule that can be utilized to make this evidence admissible. It can be extremely helpful to understand how to use these rules, as oftentimes it is challenging to track down witnesses to testify in court.

There are more than 20 hearsay exceptions. Some are used more frequently than others. For example, statements regarding one's present sense impression, which describes an event or condition during or shortly after the event described, are admissible. Also, excited utterances, which are statements about a startling event made shortly after the event and under stress may be admissible. Statements about an individual's then-existing mental, emotional or physical condition may also be exempted from hearsay objections if the proper foundation is laid.

Utilizing hearsay objections may sound simple, but they can actually be quite complicated. The party who is offering the statement must ensure that the right foundational questions are appropriately answered before offering the hearsay statements, otherwise a timely hearsay objection will be sustained, meaning the evidence won't be allowed. Competent legal professionals are adept at utilizing these exceptions, which may make all the difference during a trial. Therefore, those who are headed toward litigation may want to discuss their legal strategy with an experienced litigator.

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