How do you know whether a claim is true or false? That’s a deep question of philosophy (in the subfield of epistemology). In a personal injury case, the question is not as deep, but it’s equally important to the injured victim.

Evidence is a fact or information that either party seeks to use to establish the truth or falsity of a claim.

Example: Evidence of Negligence

Negligence equals duty of care plus breach of duty. For example, every driver has a duty to drive safely on the road. Failure to do so constitutes negligence, even if nobody gets hurt.

A surgeon, by contrast, is subject to a much more stringent duty of care towards their patients. Breach of this duty can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Example: Evidence of Damages

“Damages” are whatever you lost, meaning whatever you are claiming compensation for. That might mean medical bills, or it might mean lost earnings while you were in the hospital.

It could also mean non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Evidence could include medical bills, testimony from your employer, or medical records.

Example: Evidence of Causation

No matter how negligent the defendant might have been, you have no case without causation. The defendant’s negligence must have caused your injuries. So, what constitutes evidence of causation?

For example, a photograph of the position of two cars on the road in the aftermath of a car accident might work.

The Rules of Evidence: Inadmissible Evidence

Courts will not accept just any evidence. To be admissible, your evidence must comply with the applicable rules of evidence. In a case based on Texas law, you would refer to the Texas Rules of Evidence. In a case based on federal law, you would refer to the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Any evidence that the applicable rules of evidence don’t permit is inadmissible, which means you cannot use it in court.

Irrelevant Evidence

Evidence is irrelevant and, therefore, inadmissible if it doesn’t tend to prove a fact at issue in the case.

In a no-fault divorce case, for example, evidence of one spouse’s adultery is probably irrelevant. In a rape case, evidence of a victim’s prior consensual sex history is usually irrelevant.

Prejudicial Effect Exceeds Probative Value

“Prejudicial effect” refers to the tendency of a given item of evidence to unfairly bias the jury. “Probative value” refers to the evidence’s value in proving or disproving a claim.

Graphic and disturbing photos of the victim’s injuries might be inadmissible under this rule unless they are clearly needed to establish or disestablish a critical fact, especially if the defendant’s liability for these injuries is in doubt.

Subsequent Remedial Measures

Suppose there is a dangerous condition in the defendant’s property–malfunctioning escalators, for instance. You cannot present evidence that the defendant repaired the escalators after an accident to prove that the escalator was unreasonably dangerous in the first place.

The reason for this rule is that the law does not seek to discourage defendants from repairing dangerous conditions.


Hearsay is an out-of-court statement presented in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted, made by someone other than the person testifying. It might surprise you to know that the contents of a police report are generally inadmissible hearsay.

Instead of using a police report, however, you could call the police officer to the stand as a witness to testify about the contents of the police report they wrote.

There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule, in which testimony is admissible even though it’s hearsay nonetheless.

The Pretrial Discovery Evidence-Gathering Process

Procedurally, the best way to gather evidence is to sue the defendant and take advantage of the pretrial discovery process. This can get you evidence that is in the defendant’s possession. It can also get you evidence that is in the possession of a third party, such as a hospital or a bank.

Following is a list of some of the legal tools that the pretrial discovery process provides:

  • Depositions: Under-oath, out-of-court questioning of witnesses.
  • Interrogatories: Written questions that the recipient must answer under oath.
  • Request for documents: You might demand that the opposing party allow you to copy a waiver of liability form, for example.
  • Request for access to physical evidence– a totaled car, for example.

You can appeal to the court for help if the opposing party refuses to cooperate. Remember, however, that the defendant can use all these legal tools against you, too. They might, for example, demand that you submit to a medical example conducted by a doctor of their choice.

An Experienced Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer Will Know How To Gather Admissible Evidence

In personal injury law, a court will not generally accept a proposition as true unless you can prove it with evidence. Most of the time, but not all of the time, this evidence must be admissible in court. Some evidence, such as police reports, are inadmissible in court but useful in settlement negotiations. A good Laredo personal injury lawyer will begin gathering evidence as soon as they take your case.

Talk With A Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer About Evidences

It’s best to hire a Laredo personal injury attorney, like Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers, to get started immediately on your case. That way you can focus on recovering while we handle your legal affairs. If you have any questions about economic damages, call our office at (956) 529-7336 for a free consultation.

Roderick C. Lopez Personal Injury Lawyers
6557 Metro Court, Suite 1 Laredo, TX 78041
(956) 529-7336

Ride there with Uber