Presenting Evidence in a Personal Injury Case

In a personal injury case, whether or not evidence get admitted during trial depends on whether it is relevant. Evidence is logically relevant if it has any tendency to make any fact of consequence more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Logically relevant evidence may be excluded if its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect.

There are public policy reasons against admitting certain types of evidence. Proof of insurance to show that defendant is negligent or a defendant has ability to pay a substantial judgment is inadmissible for public policy reasons to encourage people to have insurance. There is a public policy exclusionary rule for offers to pay medical expenses.

Witnesses who testify at a personal injury trial must be competent and have personal knowledge. For example, though a police report may be introduced as evidence in a car accident case, the police officer responding to the accident after it occurred may not have personal knowledge on the car wreck.

Hearsay is an out of court statement offered for its truth. Hearsay is inadmissible unless an exception applies or a statement is not considered hearsay. Generally, a party’s words or acts may be offered as evidence in court against the party.

The public records hearsay exception allows a government record to be admitted into evidence when a record is maintained by the government and is: (1) a record of the activities of the government, (2) prepared in accordance with a duty imposed by law, or (3) an investigation duly authorized by law. For example, in a car wreck, the police report was an ordinary record made in the course of a police officer’s duties.

A statement qualifies as a present state of mind or present physical condition if a declarant makes a statement of his then existing state of mind or physical condition. Under the federal rules of evidence, a statement of a declarant’s then existing state of mind or physical condition may be used to prove the existence of the condition or to prove conduct in conformity with the expressed intent.

A statement qualifies as an excited utterance when it is made under the stress of a startling event, regarding the cause or circumstances of the event, by a declarant with personal knowledge. For example, a car accident is a startling event. A statement made immediately after the crash may be an excited utterance, but a made 3 hours after the accident, may not.

A statement qualifies as a present sense impression when it describes or explains an event while perceiving it or immediately thereafter. A bystander seeing a car accident making a statement 3 minutes after watching the accident may qualify as a present sense impression.

In a personal injury case, a witness must have personal knowledge on what he is testifying to. An expert witness may state an opinion if (1) the witness has scientific or specialized knowledge on the subject in which he testifies that assists a trier of fact, (2) the witness qualifies as an expert, (3) the witness possesses reasonable probability regarding his opinion, (4) the opinion is supported by a proper factual basis.

Whether or not evidence is admissible during trial affects the resolution of a personal injury case.

Are Toys Really The Best Kids Christmas Presents?

The question is: are toys really the right kids Christmas presents? The simple answer is a resounding yes.

Welcome to the age whereby your kid’s eyes are a little more inquisitive and they are, in general, far more savvy of the world around them than we ever were as kids. Their minds are being shaped by everything around them at an alarmingly fast rate, and it’s important to make sure that those surroundings enhance and promote good character traits.

Creative Development

Since the beginning of time, children have loved toys, and of course in more recent times, they love to play video games. Whether you are talking about childhood in your grandparent’s time, your time, or today, imagination is still the greatest gift that we can give our children, and toys are of great assistance to the creative development of any child.

With such an abundance of toys on the market, it gets harder each year to choose which are the best toys for our little ones. The first place to start would be to ask your child to write a Christmas list. Go over the list and fine tune it to ensure that as well as having entertainment value, “want” value and that it will make your child extol your praises to all their friends, that everything has a positive learning, or playful, experience. Avoid buying anything with an implication of violence or negative influences – traits which have unfortunately made their way into some of our children’s toys.

Promote Healthy Competition and Creativity

Contrary to popular belief, video games do have the capacity to offer a very positive learning experience if they are chosen wisely. They have the ability to promote healthy competition and creativity, and some online games offer your child the ability to make friends with other players around the world.

While there are those that frown on kids video games, remember that the skills gained by the player are transferable into everyday life. Competition, creativity, persistence, social skills, determination, turn taking and patience are all skills we want our children to learn, and why not kill two birds with one stone and teach these skills via a medium your child is keenly interested in? After all, isn’t the first vehicle of learning for a child through play? I guess video games present the same vehicle, albeit for today’s child.

Toys and games are terrific kids Christmas presents because they also promote sharing whilst attaining personal enjoyment. Some toys, like educational toys, are primarily offered to promote learning, while others promote creativity and problem solving. It’s really quite amazing how we can align many toys to the building blocks of life with a little imagination. A karaoke unit, for example, may be instrumental in helping a child to overcome shyness, while a Barbie doll will allow a child to venture into the depths of their own imagination.

It is essential that you follow any age recommendations given by the manufacturer, as these are included for the safety of your child.

Never forget that one of the best presents you could ever give your kids comes in the form of unconditional love. While it’s not something we can wrap up in pretty paper, and it can’t be tangibly seen, it’s one of the most powerful kids Christmas presents that can be felt.

Hey… don’t forget the batteries!

Presentation Skills – The ABC and XYZ

Let’s face it, if we are serious about our third level education there will come a time when we will be required to make presentations to either peers, tutors or faculty members during our time in university or Open Learning institutes. We may be required to make presentations during module workshops or deliver our findings from a group discussion, or maybe to show the findings of research we have carried out. Whatever way we look at it, presentation skills are a requirement throughout our third level studies.

When referring to the planning and preparation of presentations we generally refer to the three M’s; Method, Media, Materials as a guide in the planning process, so that all bases are covered so to speak. Method refers the type of presentation we are going to use, for example; will we be conducting a lecture, demonstration, discussion or playlet. Media refers to the type equipment that we might use during the presentation, which may include one or more of the following: Flipcharts, Overhead Projectors, Data Display Cameras and Computers with Microsoft PowerPoint to name but a few methods currently in use. Materials refers to the additional information we might give our audience, for example; we might issue handouts, CD ROMS, printouts of the PowerPoint Presentation or samples of our product. The subject of presentation skills can fill volumes of text in libraries and bookshops for the interested student, but that is not what we are about in this article.

To get started with presentation skills let us commence with the basics, which for ease of reference has two parts, ABC and XYZ. These two parts can act as a foundation on which to proceed with learning how to deliver professional presentations during our academic studies. The ABC and XYZ of Presentation were adapted from a series of lectures given by Professor Hubert McDermott of the National University of Ireland, Galway. ABC is a mnemonic for the phrase ‘Always Be Covered’ which refers to the planning and preparation we should undertake prior to the delivery of any presentation. The following are some practical suggestions we should incorporate into our preparation phase of our delivery:

Know the material well (Be an expert).

Practice our presentation with rehearsals (Emphasis on the first five minutes, this helps calm the initial nerves).

Prepare handouts.

Introduce ourselves (Short Bio).

XYZ is a mnemonic for the phrase ‘Examine Your Zipper’ which although funny, stresses the importance of leaving nothing to chance, starting with ourselves, the room and finally the equipment. The following are some suggestions to get us started:

Check that we are dressed correctly with trouser flies zipped up or missed or undone buttons exposing bras or underwear put right. (Ourselves)

Have you brought the laser pointer and markers for the flipchart? (The Equipment)

Check and test all electronic equipment in advance. I mean do a test run…. are the slides in order? are the pictures and links prepared? (Have you got a back-up plan such as a pre-prepared flipchart if the AV (Audio Visual) equipment goes south for the winter?). (The Equipment)

Check temperature and ventilation of the room (Is there enough seating? Are the emergency exits obstructed?). (The Room).

The list could be endless but I hope you get the idea of how important it is to be fully prepared for all presentations. Remember!!!! When you have prepared well for a presentation this will add to your confidence and in turn this confidence will shine through in your professional presentation. The best of luck with your future presentations.