If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then the defendant-driver (assuming they do not leave the scene of the accident immediately) may make incriminating statements that could benefit you in your lawsuit.
It is important to understand that not all incriminating statements are admissible into evidence in an accident case. In fact, Alabama law defines most statements by defendants (at the scene of an accident) as “hearsay” — in other words, any statement made by a declarant outside of the courtroom setting and being introduced to prove the truth of the statement itself. For example, a statement by the defendant saying, “My car is red” would be considered hearsay if it was being introduced to prove that their car is, in fact, the color red.
Hearsay evidence is by default inadmissible. There are several exceptions to the hearsay prohibition, however, and it is through these exceptions that you can secure an advantage in litigation. Let us take a brief look.
There are a few hearsay evidence exceptions. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorney notes that those exceptions include, but are not limited to, the following categories:
So, how does this work?
Suppose that the defendant-driver slams into your vehicle on the roadway. They immediately get out of their vehicle after the accident and begin talking to you. They are extremely apologetic, and in their excitement/adrenaline-fueled state, they say that they “didn’t mean to speed so fast, they didn’t think they would lose control over their vehicle.”
The above statement almost certainly falls under one of the hearsay evidence exceptions, such as the Excited Utterance exception. The defendant could be said to have made their statement at the spur of the moment, without thinking. Further, it is a statement against their own interest — it can therefore be presumed to be true and is admissible in court.
These statements should not be dismissed as useless. An incriminating statement that falls within a hearsay evidence exception can be used to strengthen your arguments and convince the court that your narrative of the accident is the correct one.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Alabama, then it is important that you get in touch with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Car accident cases — even if they seem straightforward at first glance — can be strategically complex underneath the surface. For example, an incriminating statement made by the defendant-driver can be used to push for a more favorable result in early negotiations.
Here at Cross & Smith, our team has represented plaintiffs for decades, helping them secure damages in car accident disputes. We understand how challenging it can be for injured plaintiffs to pursue recovery. To that end, we advocate relentlessly for our clients from beginning to end and strive to keep them informed of case developments at all times.
Ready to speak to an experienced Tuscaloosa car accident attorney? Call us at 877-791-0618 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
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Posted By: Mark Sterling Gober